Ice Storm Leaves Part Of Northern Ohio In Darkness

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - About 47,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in northwest Ohio on Friday, a day after an ice storm brought down hundreds of power lines.

Candles, flashlights and electric generators were in short supply at stores in and around Toledo.

Freezing rain that fell Wednesday night and early Thursday weighted down tree limbs, causing them to topple onto parked cars and power poles. No injuries were reported in Ohio.

Around the Midwest and East Coast, at least 15 deaths were blamed on slick roads or freezing temperatures.

The National Weather Service in Cleveland issued a high wind warning for much of northern Ohio on Friday.

Schools were closed on Friday for a second day in northwest Ohio, and cleanup crews were assessing damage.

In Toledo, a sewer line backed up and spilled water and sewage onto the playing field of the Mud Hens' ballpark under construction in downtown.

Accidents on ice-covered roads in Toledo shut down highways. An overturned tractor-trailer closed Interstate 280 for several hours Thursday morning.

The freezing rain turned into rain Thursday afternoon, leading to flood warnings.

Cars were getting stuck in high water in Hancock County, a sheriff's department dispatcher said.

"I think it's a lot worse than what we all planned on," the dispatcher said.

Toledo Edison said crews were called in from other areas of the state to restore power. At one point much of Franklin Park Mall in Toledo was without power.

"It's a real problem," said Toledo Edison spokeswoman Ellen Raines. "It's probably the most difficult repair situation for an electric company."

Fallen trees crushed a few parked cars. "It's my baby," said Jose Sifuentes as he looked at his demolished car.

Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre said the city's 911 center, which was operating on backup power, was swamped with non-emergency calls.

In Williams County, utility poles were down and lights were out in some areas.

"It's not a good situation," said Mose Mohre, director of the county's emergency management agency.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)