Areas not Directly in Storm's Path Also Affected by Ike and Lowell
While Hurricane Ike, as well as Tropical Storm Lowell, caused severe damage in and around the impact zone of the Texas Gulf Coast, the storm's aftermath was felt as far north as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Just like their counterparts on the Gulf Coast, ARES® members in the Midwest are assisting served agencies in their area.
While Ohio was not in the direct path of Hurricane Ike, that state is definitely feeling the aftermath of the storm as more than 2 million homes -- 18 percent of the population -- in the southwest portion of that state and neighboring Kentucky have been without power since Sunday, according to a story on ohio.com, an online service of the Akron Beacon Journal.
On Wednesday, ARRL District Emergency Coordinator for Ohio District 4 Robert Spratt, N8TVU, reported that the Butler County Emergency Management Agency had requested ARES assistance to "move a shelter trailer that can support up to 450 clients from the Hanover Township Fire Department to the City of Hamilton," a distance of about 5.5 miles. Spratt said that the shelter was being established to house those residents whose homes had been structurally damaged or deemed unsafe.
Hurricane-force winds of up to 78 MPH blew through Ohio on Sunday, causing damage in 84 of the state's 88 counties, said Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. The governor declared a State of Emergency, allowing the Ohio Department of Transportation to help local communities remove debris from roads.
Calling the power outage "the worst and widespread I have seen," a spokesman for the Dayton Power & Light Company said that 50 transmission poles that support larger voltage lines were down and some utility poles "were snapped in two." A spokesman for Duke Energy (which serves Ohio and Kentucky) said that even with the influx of electrical crews from outside the area, "We're still looking at some customers being without [electrical] service until Saturday or Sunday."
In Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich declared seven counties in that state -- Cook, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle and Will -- disaster areas. With the state proclamation, state assets and personnel will be provided to affected communities to help them respond and recover from the floods.
On Monday, September 15, the Grundy County ARES team was activated at 11:30 AM, said DEC Bob Cockream, AA9EE. "The KB9SZK VHF repeater was closed to all but flood-related and emergency traffic. We supplied a person to assist with communications to the Red Cross shelter at the Coal City High School, and another two hams to the village hall to help with both radio and phones. We had seven other EMA/ARES members working the field delivering sand bags and checking in on residents, as well as checking water levels, and reporting back to the village hall."
Neil Ormos N9NL, DEC for Cook County/Chicago, reported that he hasn't heard of any ham radio activations in Cook County yet, "but if people have been activated, they may be too busy to report. In general, conventional communications systems are working. The Red Cross has four shelters open in Cook County, but they are using conventional communications and have not sought ham radio assistance."
In Indiana, only one county -- Harrison County in the southern part of the state -- has had an official ARES activation. According to AEC Scott Taylor, K9SET, the area had no phones -- either landline or cell -- or electricity. "I recorded several 70 MPH gusts on Monday, and there are many, many trees and power lines down, as well as major structural damage to homes and business here in my town of Corydon. It may be three to five days for some to get power. Only a few businesses seem to have power, but no residences have it at this time."
In Dearborn County and Southeastern Indiana, there has been "much storm damage," said Dearborn County EC Ken Courtney, WA9BLA. "On Tuesday, we had winds here from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM; on Sunday, we recorded gusts of 70 to 80 MPH across the area wide -- hurricane Category 1 strength. A mobile home rolled over and a semi was blown over on the I-275 bridge to Kentucky. There have been four fatalities in the Greater Cincinnati area, all with trees falling on people; one fatality was in Ohio County, Indiana."
Courtney said that several hams will be doing disaster damage surveys later this week for the Dearborn County Homeland Security Agency."