Mayor Tom Henry thanked Fort Wayne residents Sunday during a news conference for driving safely while traffic lights are down, a result of the powerful storm that ripped through the city Friday afternoon.
About 54 major intersections around the city were still without traffic lights Sunday, while more than 50,000 Fort Wayne area Indiana Michigan Power customers remained without power Monday morning.
Chief of Police Rusty York said the usual number of patrol officers was on duty, but during Monday morning's rush hour, officers would be closely monitoring major intersections without traffic lights.
He said officers haven't been conducting traffic simply because too many traffic lights are out, but the department hasn't seen any major accidents as a result. Stop signs had been placed at some intersections to help with traffic flow.
Indiana Michigan Power said Monday it had restored power to half the customers in its service area who were knocked offline by the storm, leaving about 53,000 outages, including 51,000 in the Fort Wayne area. Crews from Michigan arrived Sunday morning to offer assistance to local crews along with others from Kentucky, Oklahoma and Virginia.
Henry said debris cleanup from Friday afternoon's storm could take anywhere from three to four months, and no estimates have been made yet as to how much the cleanup will cost the city and Allen County.
The city is asking that residents with downed trees and debris in their yards to push it all to the curb. Over the coming weeks and months, the Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments will make their way through the city to pick up the debris.
More information about when pickup will be for various areas of the city will be made available on the city's website at cityoffortwayne.org on Tuesday.
Al Moll, director of Parks and Recreation, said only debris at the curb will be picked up and reminded residents that if they have a tree they need removed and cannot do the job themselves, to call a private contractor or tree service for assistance.
For residents who wish to get rid of debris themselves, the city will collect debris at four locations: the parking lots of Swinney Park pool, 1600 W. Jefferson Blvd., Tillman Park off Tillman Road and near the Conklin Pavilion in Shoaff Park, 6401 St. Joe Road as well as at the city's Biosolids Facility, 5510 Lake Ave. Fees for debris drop-off will be waived and hours at the facility will be extended until 9 p.m. throughout the week.
More than 500 trees fell into roads, blocking traffic for much of the weekend, but Henry said Sunday the only two roads still closed were Bluffton Road and Ardmore Avenue. He said crews were working to open both by the end of the day Sunday.
The city's cooling centers will remain open, as well as the American Red Cross's shelter in the gymnasium at First Assembly of God Church, 1400 W. Washington Center Road. Residents should enter through door No. 5 and bring toiletries and bedding.
The Red Cross shelter would open 9 p.m. Monday for those who cannot spend the night at home.
Fire Chief Amy Biggs said the amount of rain the area saw was not significant enough to lift the county burn ban. She said the city hasn't seen any major fires due downed wires or burning debris. Police will be citing and fining residents burning debris.
Residents are urged to stay away from downed wires and call 911 to report them.
Medical Annex closed
Also reported today, Monday, the Department of Health's Medical Annex at 4813 New Haven Avenue is closed until further notice, due to power loss. The Medical Annex houses the department's Immunization, Sexually Transmitted Disease and Infectious Disease clinics.
According to a release, anyone who had a scheduled appointment this week in one of the clinics is encouraged to contact the Department of Health's main line at 449-7561 to check on the status or reschedule.