EMA: Assesses storm damage a week later

COLUMBIA CITY — A week after area residents endured high winds, bringing with the storm a slight amount of rain, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Cathy Broxon-Ball said Whitley County residents should all have their electricity restored.Broxon-Ball estimated Friday’s storm produced winds traveling at the speed of 80 miles per hour.She said electric companies worked around the clock after Friday’s storm. Sunday’s storm, which produced winds of 50-60 miles per hour, did not help this process in Whitley County, as wll as Allen County, which reported many power outages as well. “They have their priorities set up where they work on nursing homes and houses where people have registered they need oxygen,” said Broxon-Ball. “I know some companies came in from Iowa, and these guys don’t sleep. They just keep going.”According to Broxon-Ball the entire county was hit hard, especially South Whitley.“We had a couple of barns down and numerous damages to houses with shingles,” said Broxon-Ball. “Garage doors were blown in and a couple of above ground swimming pools were destroyed.”As of Tuesday, 84 people were still without power, but Broxon-Ball said she checked Wednesday, and did not see a number.Broxon-Ball said the more damages that are reported to the state, the better chances the county has to receive aid.“We need structural damages reported, even if you have insurance,” said Broxon-Ball. “With the storm being as widespread as it was, this affected everybody, and maybe we can get some federal help.”Broxon-Ball said Columbia City has been collecting downed trees, and for county residents with downed trees, she urges them to make a pile and wait until the burn ban has been lifted before setting fire to them.“They need to wait until it is safe to begin burning the leaves, branches and trees,” said Broxon-Ball.