Tag Archives: weather

Your Extended Power Outage Might Not Be Just Due To A Storm

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image of Downed power lines Hamilton Rd Columbus Ohio June 2012
Downed power lines Hamilton Rd Columbus Ohio June 2012

On Friday June 29th our area experienced a severe storm with 80 mph winds that knocked out power for over 600,000 American Electric Power (AEP) customers in Ohio and it took a week or more to get the power back on. AEP claimed the storm was more than their system could handle with the amount of damage not seen since the remnant of Hurricane Ike passed through in 2008. There might be another explanation as to why restoration is taking so long in recent years. Power companies seem to be more interested in profits over service and they want you to pay for their cost cutting.
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Blizzard of ’78 – 30th Anniversary

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In the early morning hours of January 26th 1978, thunder woke me up. Rain was hitting our trailer hard. We lived on Trenton Ave. where the Wal-Mart store is now, at the intersection of US 224 and I-75.

At the time I was 10 years old and afraid of thunderstorms so I did my usual run to mom’s room and I crawled into bed with her. I fell asleep soon after.

That didn’t last long.

Just before dawn the roar of the wind woke both of us up. The wind banged the various loose metal pieces and trim around our windows. My mom turned on the radio and WFIN was broadcasting about a blizzard hitting Findlay. It wasn’t even 5 am and Findlay City Schools closed for the day. In fact all the schools in the county closed.

We laid there in the morning gloom listening to the radio until the power went out. Not only was the radio off but so was our propane furnace. Mom got up and filled a bucket and some empty milk jugs with water. She told me to put on some extra clothes to guard against the cold.

The roar of the wind didn’t stop. I looked out the window and saw nothing but sheets of snow.

The Great Blizzard of 1978 had arrived in Findlay.

That first day was an adventure. Mom got out our camping gear and setup the Sterno stove so she could have some coffee. We had little food in the house as the storm caught us off guard. Later in the day, when we tried to open our front door to let the dog out to pee, it was frozen shut. The rain the night before froze on the metal frame. My poor dog couldn’t go outside even if she wanted to. It took about a half hour and a butter knife to get it open. The dog went to the open door, sniffed around, and refused to go out in the wind and snow.

I had to lift her down onto the stoop and as she went into the drift around the door I only saw her snout. She was gone for only a minute and slowly made her way up the stoop. I had to reach out and lift her back into the house.

Being 10, I started to complain about being cold. Even cuddling with Mom on the couch under every blanket we owned I was still cold. Mom told me to stop thinking about it. But I couldn’t. She got up and poured me a shot of whiskey and said that it would make me feel warm. It made me sleepy. We both got into my bed and pretty much slept the rest of the day away.

The next day the power came back on so life returned to some what normal. We needed some food and the radio said that Great Scot down the road would be open for a few hours. I got out my sled and we started out for the store. Before we left the trailer park we stopped off to see our neighbors, the elderly couple Pert and Lou and found out they had a wood stove and were fine. We asked if they needed any food and Pert said he needed toilet paper for sure.

My mom and I walked the mile or so to the store. Driving was banned so dozens of people were walking to the store like we were. Some used cross country skis. There were some snowmobiles and a few 4 wheel drive trucks. The only clear spot was the middle of Broad Avenue. The store had plenty of can goods but no bread or milk. I was just happy to be out of the house.

On the way back we looked down on I-75 and there were cars and trucks abandoned on the highway. The drivers had been rescued the day before.

It took a few days and front end loaders from the National Guard before they allowed people to drive again. We were out of school for a week and I remember burning out on sledding down the hill of the US 224 I-75 interchange. I also spent a lot of time digging our car out.

The next weekend we went to McComb to visit my grandparents and the drifts along the roads were huge. At one point it was like driving through a tunnel as banks of snow towered over our car and the road.

The one thing we learned during that Blizzard was not be unprepared again. For years we stocked up on can goods during the winter months and if a storm was coming we bought extra bread and milk just in case. We also made a Blizzard box with extra blankets, candle, more Sterno, and a battery operated radio.

Toledo TV station WTOL has posted video of their newscasts on January 26th and 27th 1978 so you can see what it was like back then. The ironic thing is since our power was out we never got to see the shows when they first aired.

Blizzard of ’78 – 30th Anniversary

Flooding brings back memories

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I woke on Tuesday morning (8/22/07) to news of nasty flooding in Wyandot county and Richland county. We had some nasty storms come through the day before and I noticed overnight the areas north of Columbus getting hit with a lot a rain again. So when the news was getting bad I knew my home town of Findlay would have trouble.

The Blanchard River runs from around Kenton north before turning a sharp left, then west, through Findlay and Ottawa then it empties into the Auglaize River which in turns empties into the Maumee then Lake Erie.

Then I heard the news that Carey and Arlington were evacuating people. The count down was on.

Soon flash flooding was happening in Findlay hitting areas that rarely get wet. Then the big water hit causing the river to rise to 18.5 feet matching the record 1913 flood.

Needless to say this flood was huge. Not everyday the Coast Guard is patrolling Main Street in an air-boat.

The recent flooding reminded me of other times when the Blanchard flooded. The last major flood was in 1981. Rawson Park was a large lake, most county roads were closed, and a car dealer moved his inventory to overpass on Central Parkway to escape the water.

Other times there has been minor flooding. Lye Creek that runs through the fairgrounds seems to flood every fair cutting off the northside of the fairgrounds from the southside. River St and Howard Street flood just past I-75. Miller’s Luncheonette has been flooded so many times that this time the owner didn’t even rush downtown – he knew it would be bad and there was nothing to do until the water went down.

City of Findlay aiming for long-term fixes