Storm leaves Norwalk in dark

Trees toppled, business destroyed and 800 left without power late Thursday
Courtney Astolfi
Nov 2, 2013
A late-night storm tore through Norwalk on Thursday, toppling one business entirely, stripping the roof from another and downing trees and power lines throughout the city.

Almost 800 Norwalk residents were without power as of Friday afternoon, said Jason Roblin, director of Huron County’s Emergency Management Agency.

Roblin expected the lights to come back on by early this morning, if not by late Friday night.

The storm hit Norwalk’s northern corners hardest, Roblin said. Portions of Pleasant and Newton streets were still blocked off Friday afternoon, as crews worked to right tilted poles and secure dangling wires.

City and energy company employees also scrambled to clear Parsons Street and surrounding roads, Roblin said.

It was most likely straight-line winds that caused the damage, Roblin learned from weather service personnel. Officials estimated 80- to 90-mph gusts swept through the area, and at times reached 100 mph.

Some structures fared better than others.

Friday afternoon, Paul Bennett, chief operating officer for Maple City Rubber Co. on Newton Street, surveyed the damage to his business. High winds wrenched the roof off of several outbuilding storage rooms and sent a metal pole through the main building’s rear wall, Bennett said.

Though he hopes repairs will be made sometime within the upcoming week, another local business will likely take longer to recover.

Smith’s Tree Service on Wedgewood Drive tumbled to the ground during the storm. The building came apart at its seams — cinder blocks were scattered like a toppled Jenga tower, and tufts of insulation dotted surrounding trees like tinsel.

Police dispatchers began receiving emergency calls just prior to 1 a.m., as the storm moved across the city. Roblin heard no reports of injuries, however.

Residents looking to dispose of fallen branches and debris should know the city has authorized extended hours at its waste site behind Walmart, Roblin said. The location is slated to remain open throughout the weekend.

Some homes also sustained roof damage, and Roblin directed those seeking emergency shelter to contact the Red Cross.