Portage spared major damage from hurricane aftermath

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FROM STAFF REPORTS

Trees fell, thousands lost power and nearly all of Portage County's schools closed, but safety officials said the worst of superstorm Sandy's aftermath missed Portage County on Oct. 30.

"It looks like we dodged a bullet," said Jon Barber, head of Portage County's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

He said the county's Emergency Operations Center was staffed Oct. 29 and 30 to monitor emergency calls, but there were no reports of injuries related to the storm.

However, some area's along Lake Erie's southern coast were hit hard, and some places in the Cleveland area still did not have power restored until over the weekend or earlier this week.

Barber said there were reports of flooding on Route 303 in Streetsboro, which was closed from Jefferson Street to Stone Road on Oct. 30.

The Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department warned Mantua residents Oct. 29 that the Cuyahoga River could flood in the village, but a department spokesman said there was no major flooding in the area. There also was no major flooding reported in Kent or Ravenna.

Gene Roberts, Kent's director of public service, said the area did not see the intense bursts of rain necessary to cause flash flooding.

"There's been a lot of rain that's fallen, but it's been falling slowly," he said.

Kent Fire Capt. Charles Palmer said the storm caused few problems in Kent. "We've had some trees down, but that was about it," Palmer said.

IN BRIMFIELD, trees fell at Mogadore and Howe roadsand at Fairwood Road and Ivanhoe Drive in the Beechcrest development, according to Police Chief David Oliver.

Aurora Service Director John Trew reported there were some branches down throughout town, mostly in the northeast quadrant, but he was aware of no major damage.

The storm left about 2,000 homes and businesses without power in Portage County as of early Oct. 30, with the majority of those outages occurring in Freedom Township, Garrettsville, Ravenna and Ravenna Township.

First Energy reported 113 Portage residents were without power as of 10:45 a.m. Oct. 30, down from 1,805 two hours earlier. As of 9:30 p.m., there were fewer than 60, most of them in Aurora.

Every school district in the county, except Southeast, which had a two-hour delay, and Windham, canceled classes Oct. 30. Kent State University canceled all classes before 4:15 p.m.

The Associated Press reported about 260,000 businesses and homes in Ohio lost power Oct. 29-30. Nationwide, the storm led to at least 48 deaths and left 7.4 million without power.

The Cleveland area saw the worst of power outages in Ohio, as well as damage and flooding from the storm.

Safety officials in the Cleveland area warned residents to stay home to avoid roads blocked by flood waters, power lines and trees.

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