BAINBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Tuesday’s snowstorm left more than 50,000 people without power across Northeast Ohio, including in hard-hit Geauga County, and FirstEnergy said restoration could take days.
Heavy, wet snow weighed down trees and branches, causing many to fall and take out power lines in places including Bainbridge Township.
“When we have wet, heavy snow after a big saturation, that’s when we have problems,” Bainbridge Township Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lovell said.
Lovell said emergency calls started flooding in around 4:30 a.m. Downed power lines and trees blocked roads, keeping emergency and power crews on the move all day.
“A significant amount of our township is without power currently, and the power company is doing their best to take care of true emergencies before they start restoring residential neighborhoods,” Lovell said.
By Tuesday afternoon, more than half of FirstEnergy’s customers in Geauga County were without power, totaling about 23,000 customers. About 19,000 customers were without power in Cuyahoga County.
“Heavy, wet snow is one of the biggest threats to our electric system because it does put a lot of stress and weight on our power lines as well as on branches that can break and fall into our equipment,” FirstEnergy spokesperson Lauren Siburkis told FOX 8 News.
Siburkis said the company brought in 150 linemen and support personnel from outside the region to help with repairs and was working to bring in additional crews. She said it could be days before power is restored in the hardest hit areas.
“Before our crews can access the damage location and make repairs, we first have to be able to clear the tree from the road, and this is a very time consuming process,” she said.
FirstEnergy asked affected customers to report outages and said restoration estimates will be posted on its web site when available.
With snow still falling Tuesday afternoon, authorities urged people to stay home and avoid downed power lines.
“If we can keep people off the roads we’re going to have less cars in the ditches while we’re dealing with trees falling on houses and power lines,” Lovell said.
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