Wicked weather rips area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Yet another storm blasted the Tri-State Tuesday evening, dumping heavy rain and downing power lines and trees.

Thousands of Lawrence County customers were still without power as of Wednesday morning.

American Electric Power spokeswoman Susan Priore said more than 1,500 AEP customers were still waiting to have their electricity restored as of 6 a.m. this morning. At 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, nearly 7,300 Ironton-area customers were without power.

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"Restoration is on-going," Priore said. "Most should be back by 9 o'clock this evening. A few customers will be back in tomorrow."

Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative customers service representative Steve Oden said more than 5,000 BRE customers throughout the cooperative's service area were without power after the storm moved through Tuesday evening. Approximately 1,600 remained in the dark as of 8 a.m. this morning. Oden said he did not have figures of how many of those customers were in Lawrence County.

"It was the oddest storm we've ever seen," Oden said. "It was wide and vicious. It didn't last long, but it did a lot of damage."

Oden said contract crews who normally work on BRE's FEMA project have been pulled off that job and are working with BRE crews to help restore power.

Mike Willis, timekeeper for the Ohio Department of Transportation's Lawrence County office, said workers will spend today cleaning brush off the sides of the road. Willis said the worst-hit areas appeared to be State Route 93 from the Allisonville Park to Decatur, State Route 243 from Coal Grove to Getaway, State Route 217 from Dog Fork to Scottown and State Route 775 from Scottown to Wilgus.

Willis said some state routes were down to one lane last night while workers removed fallen trees and large limbs from the roadways.

In Ironton, the storm created problems for the police department. According to the police log, the radio system that allows officers on the road to have contact with dispatchers at the office blew out at 10:45 p.m. A repairman with B and C Communications of Cannonsburg, Ky., was called to make repairs.

This problem came at a time when the police department was fielding numerous calls of power outages, fallen trees and debris on the streets.

According to the National Weather Service's office in Charleston, W.Va., the Kitts Hill area received 0.35 inches of rain between 8:45 a.m. Tuesday and 8:45 a.m. today. In other areas of the county, the amount of rain received was smaller. Proctorville had gotten only 0.16 inches and Waterloo 0.12 inches.