From staff and wire reports
A violent storm that swept through the Mid-Ohio Valley Friday toppled trees and cut power, with AEP Ohio officials saying it may take a week to restore power to all its customers.
Local police and fire departments reported few major problems other than the outage, which left many traffic lights off and residents facing no air conditioning with temperatures expected to soar again into the 90s this weekend.
Residents gather around a fallen tree on Acme Street Friday night after a powerful storm swept through the area.
The Marietta Times
Tim Wells, with AEP Ohio, said there were at least 500,000 customers in the dark in the state and reports were still coming in Friday evening.
In terms of the numbers, we're talking an event of Hurricane Ike status," he said.
Loss of property was still being calculated by many residents late Friday.
Ken Morrison, of Third Street, Marietta, recruited several friends to help him get to his Ford Escape, crushed by a tree on Warren Street.
Trees and limbs were swept across streets throughout Washington County following the powerful and sudden storm, which struck around 6:30 p.m.
Residents from across the valley gathered at Food 4 Less in Marietta, where a natural gas generator kept a few cashier lines open and half the lights on, although there was no refrigerated food.
At the Lafayette Hotel, a Sacra Via concert was canceled and the chefs in the kitchen worked by flashlight.
Power was out throughout the county and in neighboring counties throughout much of the region, leaving some motorists traveling through stranded since no gas stations were operational.
The storms also went through the eastern part of the United States Friday night, killing a northern Virginia woman when a tree fell onto her home, damaging subway cars in Washington, D.C., and knocking out power to more than 2 million people in the middle of a heat wave.
In Ohio, at least four utility poles fell on a road in Columbus, making it too dangerous for people in four cars to get out, police said. One person was taken to a hospital, they said.
The State Highway Patrol said the high winds, which the National Weather Service had predicted could top 70 mph, blew over three tractor-trailers on Interstate 75 near Findlay, but no one was injured.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency after more than 500,000 customers in 27 counties were left without electricity.
Several elderly residents from an Indianapolis apartment home were displaced when a tree fell onto a power line, knocking out electricity to the facility, the fire department said. More than 20 residents were taken by bus to a Red Cross facility to spend the night, and others who depend on oxygen assistance were given other accommodations.
In the Washington, D.C., area, Metrorail trains were returned to their endpoints due to the storms and related damage, officials said.
"It has had a widespread effect on the region," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said early Saturday. He said about 17 train stations were operating on backup power due to local power outages, but that he didn't anticipate service being disrupted on Saturday.