July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Sandy aftermath still darkens Avon Lake

AVON LAKE — Superstorm Sandy may be a fading memory for many in Lorain County, but to hundreds of residents in Avon Lake, the storm’s effects still linger in the form of no power.

As of Saturday night, FirstEnergy’s website was still reporting 688 customers in Avon Lake as still without power. The website also listed minor outages in Avon, Lorain and Sheffield Lake.

“We’ve reduced the number as time has gone on,” Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said. “We’re hoping to reach zero within the next few days.”

Bands from Sandy lashed Lorain County on Monday, even before the storm made landfall on the East Coast, causing massive damage there. By Tuesday morning, more than 20,000 customers in Lorain County were without power. The county also was plagued with flooded basements, rising rivers and downed trees and lines.

One of those downed power lines was on Walker Road in Avon Lake, which closed the road between Jaycox Road and Legends Row, Avon Lake fire Lt. James Berry said.

Part of the reason it’s taken so long to restore power, Berry said, is that FirstEnergy crews have been called out of the city to make repairs elsewhere.

“As of noon today, there was not a truck working in the city,” he said. “They pulled out and went to some higher-need areas.”

Zilka said Saturday night that crews were working in the city.

“We’re hoping we can get everyone back online as soon as possible,” he said.

A FirstEnergy spokesman did not return a call seeking comment, but the company’s website said power was expected to be fully restored in the city by 11:59 p.m. Monday.

But Berry said there is still concern that power will be off to portions of the city by Tuesday.

County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams said only one polling place in the county, at Lake Shore United Methodist Church in Avon Lake, remained without power on Saturday.

He said while emergency officials are optimistic that the lights will be back on at the church before polls open on Tuesday, contingency plans are being made.

The elections board would either move voting to another site or bring in generators to power the church while voters cast their ballots. Adams said he would prefer not to have to relocate.

“We want to have as little voter confusion as possible and moving a polling location for us is a last resort,” he said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.