LIMA — Residents of the region awoke to a scene out of a disaster movie Thursday morning.
They found trees atop cars. Brick stoops from old apartment buildings crumbled. More than 4,000 people were without power. Traffic lights were rendered useless for most of Thursday.
Wednesday’s storm dumped 0.46 inches of rain in about an hour left a more ominous calling card of wreckage behind. A storm spotter station at the Putnam County Airport in Ottawa recorded a 62 mph wind gust at 7:17 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
At 9 a.m. Thursday, AEP Ohio reported 40 separate outages with 4,037 customers without power in the Lima area. Local crews and crews from Columbus and Newark were dispatched to Lima to restore power, according to the City of Lima.
By 7:30 p.m., the number was down to 20 outages affecting 2,603 customers. AEP Ohio estimated it should return power to everyone affected by the end of the day Thursday.
There were also smaller outages in Columbus Grove, Delphos, Elida, Kalida, Ottawa, Shawnee Township and west of Spencerville.
In Lima, 10- to 12-inch tree limbs were down in an area between Cable Road and Metcalf Street, between Market Street and Spencerville Road, according to reports to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
Residents of 630 W. North St. were stunned to see their brick stoops buckle. Bricks were also thrown down from along the roof.
Felled trees toppled onto automobiles at 721 W. Elm St., 618 S. Pears Ave. and 1176 W. Wayne St., all in Lima, on Wednesday evening. Another tree damaged the roof of a home at 1873 Lowell Ave., Lima. A car port was turned over at 1418 Hazel Ave., Lima. A large pine tree hit a home at 632 Maplewood Drive, Lima.
All that damage left many of the traffic signals without electricity. Lima officials reminded the public that when a signal isn’t operating, each intersection should be treated as a four-way stop.
Trees laying on wires couldn’t be removed until AEP Ohio cleared its lines, according to the City of Lima.
Lima’s streets division planned curbside pickup of tree debris starting Thursday and continuing for a week until July 18, said Howard Elstro, the city’s director of public works. Residents may place tree branches and tree debris on the tree lawn or on the grass next to a street. Officials urged people not to place limbs in the street itself.
Residents were also welcomed to haul tree debris for free to Wright Mulch, 1227 E. Hanthorn Road, Lima. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. Proof of residency isn’t necessary.
Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative and Midwest Electric Cooperative did not report current outages.