Storms Topple Trees, Flood Roads Across NE Ohio

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CLEVELAND -- The hot summer storm was quick but powerful in the Cleveland area.

According to Larry Gray with the Cleveland Fire Department, four window washers at the Federal Building on East 9th Street became trapped about 7 p.m. Thursday when the winds tangled the guide wires.

The wind was banging the scaffolding, and the men, against the building, Gray said.

One man was able to climb down, but he cut his head. Gray said firefighters rescued the three others through a window on the 10th floor. They were taken to the hospital with neck and back pain.

In Lakewood, the wind and rain toppled an old tree into Morrison Avenue. The street was shut down until the tree could be removed.

No one was hurt.

"I was sitting at my window, and I was watching the tree and it slid down really fast and then smacked the ground," said Ian Ashby, of Lakewood.

In North Olmsted, a large tree came down on the back of a house. Luckily, no one was hurt.

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Flooded Roads in Summit County

AKRON, Ohio -- Severe weather roared through Northeast Ohio Thursday night causing damage in several counties from Ashtabula to Summit.

In Akron, the brutal winds toppled trees while the pounding rain flooded streets.

“It was just rolling in …the lighting, the thunder was continuous,” said Burl Rodgers.

Directly across the street from Burl’s business, Micro Grinding, Inc., a large tree was shaking and swaying in the strong winds and then suddenly fell across Furnace Street.

No one was injured, but traffic was stopped until crews could clear the tree from the roadway.

Gusting winds created problems, but the heavy rain seemed to cause the most widespread damage.

“The rain was coming down so hard you couldn’t see anything, white out conditions,” said Rodgers.

The combination of a water main break and the heavy downpour caused the street to buckle at Furnace and Summit streets.

Soon, the thunderstorm watches were coupled with flash flood warnings. The warning came too late for some drivers who found themselves stranded along several flooded streets.

Bruce Bowers tried to help his wife, who was stuck in the floodwaters, but ended up needing rescued himself.

“I thought I could make it, but it just flooded up over the engine,” said Bowers.

The cold water quickly filled Bowers’ Honda Accord up and over his ankles. To make matters worse, the nearby Little Cuyahoga River was raging and bursting at the seams.

Neighbors feared the overflow could cause the stranded cars to entirely flood and possibly harm the drivers inside. But before the situation worsened, a good samaritan named Allen Wengerd took action. He walked into the knee deep water and pushed both vehicles out to safety.

“I tried to give that nice guy a tip; he wouldn’t take it,” said Bowers.

A very humble Allen Wengerd said he did it, “Just to help somebody out.”

The storms seemed to catch many motorists off guard, but First Energy was prepared.

“We actually have two meteorologists on staff,” said spokesman Mark Durbin. “When we see the weather coming in, we put out an alert.”

Hundreds of workers were ready to restore power.

Durbin encouraged people to always report outages and never assume someone else made the call. He said people can also now track outages on First Energy’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

*Check the FirstEnergy Outage Map

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