I'll spare you the irony of the "I Like Ike" era.
While the poor Mississippians (that the news overlooked) are still trying to pick up after Gustav, and Texas is still trying to pick up from Ike, some of the midwest is experiencing their own problems from the hurricane.
With nearly no warning, winds of 60 to 85 mph blew through Central Ohio on Sunday, uprooting trees, downing power lines, and leaving nearly 1.5 million residents without power according to The Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
The power, according to Columbus NBC4, is not expected to return in many places for several days.
I am a resident of Columbus, OH, who has been without power for 24 hours; I'm used to it, having grown up in the country (though I now live in the city), and no power doesn't really bother me, except I go a little stir crazy when I'm done with work.
What does bother me, is that there are almost no working traffic lights in a city of 750,000. I will repeat - there was no warning of this on local news, or on sites like accuweather.com (which we were watching to make sure the hellacious rain over Illinois wasn't coming our way).
I've attached a couple pictures of the damage. Unfortunately, by the time it was safe to leave, it was too dark out for a most pictures.
AEP reports that part of the slowness in response is due to the fact that over 200 central Ohio power workers were in Texas. They are currently asking all these employees to return; they're not expected to be back until Tuesday. In addition, AEP is asking for 600 employees from Virginia to head over to help.
Most Central Ohio public agencies (fire, emt, police) are taking emergency calls only, and are strained as they try to staff busy intersections that have no power.
And most fun of all; the few local restaurants lucky enough to have power, are running out of food, and the same with grocery stores.
To my fellow Central Ohioans (and some in Indiana and Illinois also), a few tips for you:
- Food in a half full freezer is generally cold enough for 24 hours. If you were lucky enough to have your power restored by now, your food is okay. A full freezer can keep food cold for up to 48 hours. When your power is restored, temp test your food; if its still under 40 degrees, its generally alright to eat. Otherwise, toss it.
- If a tree falls on your property, the homeowner is responsible. The city can and will only take care of it if it has fallen in the roadway.
-The Ohio Department of Insurance and the BBB are encouraging people to go about insurance claims properly. First: Call your agent and then, before you touch anything, document the damage. Take pictures. Check out businesses with the BBB before hiring them for help.
- As of this writing, several thoroughways, including route 161, Olentangy Blvd, and East South Street, are closed because lines are in the street. AEP is also encouraging parents with children home from school to NOT be allowed to play in the yard, because lines are often difficult to spot different from twigs.
Updates to come as they're available.