Area residents’ eyes glued to Irma news
Welcome news sought on fate of friends, relatives
While the Mid-Ohio Valley won’t have to worry about anything more than some showers and breezes from Hurricane Irma, residents with connections to Florida and other impacted areas have been watching and waiting anxiously for word from down south.
“I’m kind of exhausted from watching the news and am just taking a break today now that I know my family is safe,” said Joan Dearth, of Marietta, whose son,
Lonnie, daughter-in-law, Lisa, and granddaughter, Erin O’Quinn, all former Marietta residents, rode out the storm in Jupiter and Sarasota, Florida.
Dearth said that her son just bought a condo in Jupiter and two new cars and the last she heard from them, at 1 a.m. Monday, all humans were accounted for but the extent of the damage was unknown.
“I know they don’t have electricity; my granddaughter is director of medical surgery at Doctors Hospitals of Sarasota and she has not left the hospital since Saturday… she’s safe but she’s so busy,” Dearth said.
Joan and her husband Neil, a retired Air Force veteran, have a recreational vehicle that they take down south during Mid-Ohio Valley winters.
“We stay at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and, in the 10 years we’ve been going down there, we haven’t had any trouble with weather. This time they evacuated the Air Force Base,” she said.
While The Associated Press reports power outages in Florida number in the millions, crews from Ohio are heading to Camilla, Georgia, in hard-hit Mitchell County in the southwest corner of the state.
“Ohio’s Electric Co-ops is sending 66 linemen, including two local linemen, to Georgia because everyone else is heading to Florida and Georgia needs a lot of help, too,” said Bruce Swope, line superintendent with Washington Electric Cooperative.
Swope explained that 400 technicians are needed for roughly two weeks to help repair downed poles and restore power to thousands.
“In that co-op alone (near Camilla), there are 25,000 without power,” he said.
The storm has killed at least 37 people in the Caribbean and seven in the U.S. including Puerto Rico. It brought flooding to major cities, like Tampa and Jacksonville, as well as prompted multiple tornado warnings.
Southeast Ohio will mostly be spared from any remnants of Hurricane Irma, according to meteorologist Maura Casey, with the National Weather Service in Charleston.
“It lost momentum when it moved over Florida and it will really struggle to get into deep moisture this far north,” she said. “The models are in agreement that the area will get some rain today and will be showery on and off all week with some breezes. Wind gusts will be about 10 to 15 mph.”How to help
¯ For information on blood donation and upcoming blood drives visit redcrossblood.org.