Thunderstorms Knock Out Power Across Northeast Ohio

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by Nick Castele

Storms this week have left thousands of people in Cuyahoga County without power—many for days. Communities are also cleaning up debris from toppled trees.

In Cleveland Heights, as work crews chopped up branches and fed them into wood chippers.

Among the workers out on Forest Hills Boulevard was Seth Harrison, who runs Nature’s Beauty Tree Service.

“This is our second job,” he said. “But this is a big, $4,000 job. Every job is just humongous.”

He said he had about eight people out working for around two hours to take down damaged trees and pile the refuse on the tree lawns.

Carol Scott stepped out of her home to take a look at the progress. She said the trees fell toward the street and didn’t damage her house. But it means the cleanup costs are hers.

“I called the insurance company right away and they said no,” Scott said. “If it had hit my house, or if it blocked my driveway so I couldn’t have access to the garage, then they would have helped.”

Scott said she didn’t lose power. According to FirstEnergy, around 45,000 people did Tuesday night. By Thursday afternoon, that number fluctuated between 3,000 and 5,000, before ballooning again as a new storm swept through Northeast Ohio.

Speaking Thursday afternoon, Cynthia Moore said she hadn’t had power since Tuesday night. One big casualty: her window air conditioner.

“And it’s just been really hot,” Moore said. “So we’ve just been trying to keep cool with ice and water and sitting out on the porch.”

She said she’s trying to keep her phone charged.

“I had a meeting yesterday, so while I was there, I plugged up my iPad and my phone and tried to get some juice,” she said.

FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin said crews had to wait for downed trees to be cleared in many cases. Workers also can’t use bucket trucks to fix damaged wires in back yards, he said.

“So if there’s a tree that came down or a pole that got snapped, it’s very laborious to get back there and put the spikes on, and climb up the poles the old fashioned way,” Durbin said. “But that’s something that if we have to do it we’ll do it.”

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