COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Central Ohio is still recovering from the weekend’s weather, with some AEP Ohio customers still without power.
While electricity had returned to 90% of homes without it by Monday afternoon, at one point, there were more than 125,000 customers in the dark.
“Northeast Ohio and southeast Ohio were definitely our hardest hit areas, and right now we are projected to have everyone restored there by Wednesday night,” said Matt Bennet, AEP Ohio’s Operations Manager. “It’s a difficult situation having to let some of the water recede and we had to bring in a lot of specialized equipment to be able to get to those hard hit areas.”
Crews from seven other states are helping out with the efforts, according to Bennet. The utility’s outage map showed hundreds of customers without power in Athens County Monday evening.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience in a wind event, it’s never a good time to be without power but know our crews are working hard and we’re going to get to everyone as quickly and safely as possible,” Bennet said.
Bennet said one of the reasons for restoration efforts taking longer in the northeast and southeast parts of the state is more downed trees. The weather broke around 150 poles and crews have been working to replace more than 700 spans of wire, according to Bennet.
“As a tree falls it bringing down everything in its path which happens to be our poles and wires so just the more trees you have, more wind bringing down more trees with the saturated ground, so it’s just all that difficulty,” Bennet said. “Instead of replacing one pole you might be replacing ten, so it’s just more work.”
Power outages haven’t been the only issues caused by the storm. The wind knocked over the chimney of a building in Olde Towne East at the corner of Parsons Ave. and Oak St. It damaged the roof and possibly the kitchen of a third floor tenant, according to the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services.
“When I left that day I noticed some bricks in this back parking lot, but I didn’t think much of it and then I got a call that they were evacuating the building that evening,” Anna Marie Cua said.
Cua owns Beauty Box, one of four businesses in the building. Throughout the day Monday, there was some uncertainty about the building’s future. It had been closed since Saturday night.
“It’s heartbreaking to not know now when we’ll be able to do business again, if we’ll be able to do business in this space again. just the unknown, it’s pretty scary,” Cua said.
An engineer determined the building was safe to occupy, according to Anthony Celebrezze, Deputy Director of the Department of Building and Zoning Services. He also said the portion of Oak St. closed because of the situation would be reopened soon.