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LaGrange 'a mess' after storm

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    A large tree branch lay in the tree lawn in front of Norton-Eastman Funeral Home on South Main Street in Wellington Sunday evening after a line of strong thunderstorms made their way through southern Lorain County causing downed trees and power outages.

    ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

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Several areas of Lorain County were hit hard by an intense storm system Sunday evening, leading to rolling blackouts, flooding and structural damage. Most of the damage was within LaGrange village and township.

The National Weather Service’s Cleveland office will confirm today whether a tornado touched down in LaGrange and surrounding areas.

According to director of Lorain County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Tom Kelley, crews will be out most of today to assess the damage from Sunday’s storm.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, 3,286 Ohio Edison customers were without power, according to the company’s website. By 6 a.m., that number was down to 700.

The Ohio Highway Patrol closed state Route 83 between Capel and Grafton-Eastern roads while downed electrical wires were being repaired.

Most of LaGrange was without power Sunday night after strong winds snapped utility poles in half, forcing wires to the ground. Fallen trees prevented residents from parking in their driveways.

Emergency workers set up pylons around the perimeter of town, forcing motorists to seek alternative routes as state routes 301 and 303 were not drivable within the village limits.

“It’s a mess,” LaGrange Police Chief Chad Duensing said at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Duensing said cleanup within the village was expected to continue through the night into this morning.

No injuries had been reported, he noted.

At 7 p.m., Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Company reported “scattered outages throughout our service area, including around Nova and Pheasant Run Village in LaGrange Township.”

“This is going to take some time (Sunday night), so be patient,” LMRE stated via a Facebook post.

In the Taylorwood subdivision in LaGrange, resident Jean Paris saw a tree snap in half on her neighbor’s property.

“After I saw the second tree come down, I was in the basement,” Paris said.

By 8 p.m., Paris, who lives on Hendrix Boulevard, said it was pitch-black outside — the darkness illuminated by cell phone flashlights when needed.

“I can’t see anything … it is too dark,” Paris said. “The wind was so strong it opened my front door. I saw the silhouette of my neighbor’s second tree falling. Rundle Street looks like a mess with debris — sticks and leaves.”

Residents also reported trees on vehicles, sheds blown off their foundations and fences destroyed by strong winds.

LaGrange resident Rebecca Miller, of West Main Street, said she saw the top of a pine tree fall on her neighbor’s home, taking out electrical wires. Her neighborhood lost power about 6 p.m., she added.

Businesses in the village also were damaged, including IGA on North Center Street.

Head manager Erica Domec said the store had lost power and it doesn’t have backup generators.

“We have some spots in the roof leaking, but the majority of our damage is from loss of product,” Domec said.

Trendsetters Day and Hair Spa’s exterior was damaged with siding hanging off, exposing the rafters. Parts of the building were seen scattered across East Main Street.

Kelley advises residents to exercise caution when near any hazards caused by the storm.

“First of all don’t step in the water, especially if they’re near electrical wiring, and do not drive in a flooded roadway,” he said.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @MLinebrinkCT.



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