It was a long, tough week for FirstEnergy workers and many area residents as they cleaned up after a storm blew across the northern tier of Summit County on Nov. 5.

Even this week, some residents likely are cleaning up and taking care of damage to their homes, businesses and properties.

For a while last week, though, the sounds of television sets and radios were quiet and the sounds of chainsaws, heavy machines and trucks hauling utility poles became the norm as residents waited for their power to come back on.

Paul Walker, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, said strong late season severe storms are not unusual for Ohio.

"You start to get cold air masses working their way down from Canada and meet up with the warmer air masses from the southern tier of the U.S. that have not left yet.," he said.

Power to most of the homes was restored by late Nov. 7 and early Nov. 8. A handful of homes had to wait until mid-day Nov. 9 for restoration of service. Nordonia Hills schools — both public and private — along with schools in Twinsburg and Aurora  were closed Nov. 6 because bus routes were blocked.

Although some homes still faced some electrical issues as of Nov. 10, Macedonia Mayor Joseph Migliorini said most of the city "is back up and running."

FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin said that at the peak of the outages, around 40,000 customers in Summit County did not have power.

"The storm blew through around 6 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5, and the majority of our customers’ power was restored in late evening Nov. 7," said Durbin.

Migliorini called the time just after the storm hit "a pretty interesting Sunday night," with about 500 calls coming in to the city’s dispatch center.

"I’m just glad nobody got hurt," he said. "City and power company crews handled the situation very well, and we learned some things that could help us be better prepared for a similar situation in the future."

The mayor said he was at the dispatch center for a while and then "hit the streets" to help out where he could, including blocking off streets where power lines and trees posed hazards to motorists.

Some residents were forced to stay at motels because of a lack of heat in their darkened homes, and many had to discard food that spoiled in their refrigerators.

Power crews and contractors helping in the cleanup effort also stayed in the area for a night or two.

"The Bob Evans restaurant at Route 8 and Highland Road in Macedonia was jammed with utility trucks during the restoration effort," said Durbin.

One of the primary reasons for the widespread power outages was a 30,000-volt transmission line, which came down across Liberty Road in Twinsburg, cutting off traffic for a couple of days between Post Road and Miktarian Parkway.

"Once we got that transmission line replaced, many customers were re-energized," said Durbin. "There were six large transmission poles down blocking the road near the roundabout."

The new poles had to be brought in from Mansfield, Durbin added.

Numerous trees also were down in the region, and several homes were damaged when trees fell on them.

Victims of storm damage are being instructed to contact a contractor, and they may call Macedonia’s building department for a list of registered businesses to choose from.

Migliorini said Macedonia plans to seek some federal and state disaster relief funds to help pay for overtime, fuel and other costs brought on by the storm.

He noted the city offered generators to some homeowners, and will waive fees for permits needed to fix damage they sustained. 

He added crews might have to work a few more days before the cleanup is complete. "We’re picking up debris on the main streets first, then we’ll double back into neighborhoods," he explained.

In Northfield, Mayor Jesse Nehez said, "There are no words to express how the crews pitched in" during the cleanup. "Village crews, as well as FirstEnergy workers, handled every aspect of the cleanup very well."

klahmers@recordpub.com

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