About 38,000 AEP Ohio customers, including more than 14,745 in Columbus and central Ohio, were without power Wednesday afternoon in scattered outages caused by high winds.
The utility reported wind gusts surpassing 55 mph in some parts of its service territory, downing lines and damaging poles. AEP reported about 38,000 customers without power as of 2 p.m. but warned that number could climb as high winds were expected to continue into Wednesday night and Thursday morning in some areas.
When sustained winds are above 30 mph, lineworkers are prohibited from using bucket trucks due to safety concerns until the winds subside. As a result, AEP could not provide defined times for service restoration.
Here are some of the communities and number of customers affected by outages as reported by AEP: Athens, 1,302; Belmont, 6,017; Bucyrus, 219; Carrolton, 820; Chillicothe, 285; Coshocton, 612; Crooksville, 911; Lancaster, 1,369; Lima, 2,348; Marietta, 1,146; Mount Vernon, 779; Newark, 5,124; Pomeroy, 210; Portsmouth, 390; South Point, 1,370; Steubenville, 309; Van Wert, 679; Wellston, 605; and Zanesville, 312
A wind gust of 50 mph was recorded at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
The highest winds recorded were in Newark and Wilmington, which both recorded 58 mph gusts Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, which covers central and southwest Ohio.
Downed power lines have forced the closure of several roads in Columbus and central Ohio, including North Waggoner Road between its northern terminus at Clark State Road and McOwen Road in Jefferson Township.
The whole state is under a high wind warning or advisory, some until Wednesday night while other areas, like the Akron area, continue until 4 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.
High winds were whipping up trouble across southwest Ohio and northeast Ohio Wednesday as well.
In greater Cincinnati, the winds hit Wednesday morning and left about 30,000 Duke Energy customers without electricity by 11 a.m. That figure had been reduced to about 7,000 customers about 3 p.m.
In Canton, winds appeared to snap a 30-year-old Christmas tree downtown. Wind also pushed a giant Christmas tree in Cleveland’s Public Square to one side, giving it a leaning tower of Pisa appearance before heavy equipment shoved it upright again.
FirstEnergy reported about 20,000 customers were without power in Lorain and several nearby counties in northeast Ohio as a result of scattered outages across the area. Most were small, impacting less than 20 customers.
Akron Beacon Journal reporter Amanda Garrett and Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Sarah Brookbank contributed to this report.