The restoration of electrical power to nearly all Fort Wayne residents after Friday's storm has come none too soon, as the area faces triple-digit temperatures through week's end. A few thousand Indiana Michigan Power customers remained without power, but most of Fort Wayne was getting back to normal this morning after five full days of outages.
100-degree heat baking area
The temperature was 100 degrees just before 6 p.m. Wednesday with a heat index of 104, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures near 100 were predicted for the rest of the week. Overnight lows in the 70s were expected through Saturday. Factoring in humidity will push heat indices to 105 to 110 through Saturday.
The heat can be dangerous for children and older residents, especially at a time when many Allen County residents remain without electricity after Friday's storm that brought gusts recorded at 91 mph. The high wind knocked down trees and limbs and power lines with them.
Mayor Tom Henry on Wednesday urged residents to take advantage of the city's cooling centers, which were open again Wednesday and today. The mayor also announced reduced fees at city pools, beginning Thursday.
The centers provided relief for 25 people Tuesday.
The American Red Cross shelter would stay open tonight for homeless people and those who could not yet go back to their homes, said Katherine MacAuley, chief operations officer for the Red Cross of Northeast Indiana. About 28 people slept at the shelter Wednesday night.
Memorial Pool also reopened Wednesday, and the city's free splash pads at Buckner, Kreager, Memorial and Shoaff parks will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. today, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Natalie Eggeman said. The McCormick and Waynedale splash pads remained closed, she said.
94% have power restored early today
Indiana Michigan Power reported at around 7 a.m. Thursday that it has restored power to about 94 percent of customers in the Fort Wayne area. Crews were working to restore service to an estimated 4,300 remaining customers. About 118,000 I&M customers lost power in Friday's storm.
Crews worked through the July Fourth holiday to restore service. I&M has brought in crews from other states to restore power at a time of oppressive heat.
Power restoration has been quicker than I&M's automated outage map could keep up, so the company temporarily deactivated the map.
Price cut at city pools
Children 12 and younger will be admitted free to Northside, Memorial and McMillen pools. Those 13 and older will pay $1.
Thursday pool hours are 12:30-5 p.m. at Northside and Memorial, and 1:30-7 p.m. at McMillen. Friday hours are 12:30-5 and 7-9 p.m. at Northside, 12:30-5 p.m. at Memorial and 1:30-7 p.m. at McMillen. Saturday hours are 12:30-5 p.m. at Northside, 12:30-5 p.m. at Memorial and 1:30-7 p.m. at McMillen.
Residents will only be allowed into the pools until they reach capacity, whether or not they plan to swim. About 400 people will be allowed into Northside and McMillen pools at one time; Memorial Pool will hold only 200.
All traffic signals up and running again
After numerous traffic lights went out in Friday's high-wind storm, the last one to be restored was at Coliseum Boulevard and New Haven Avenue, city spokesman Frank Suarez said this morning.
Weather radio back up
The National Weather Service weather radio transmitter based in Allen County is back on the air. Michael Sabones, meteorologist in charge of the weather service in northern Indiana, said today that the reason the transmitter went dead was that its emergency generator was inoperable. He said a replacement part for the generator has been ordered, and he expects to have the generator repaired within a day or two.
New Haven open for business
New Haven has all major roads reopened after doing storm cleanup. Utility Superintendent Dave Jones said I&M told him everyone in New Haven should have power restored by tonight.
“We're pretty much open for business,” he said today.
The city's cooling center will remain open as long as residents need it, he said. It's open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. at New Haven United Methodist Church, 630 Lincoln Highway E. Curbside debris pickup began Monday. Residents can also drop off debris at the utility building, 2455 Summit St.
Medical annex reopened
Power had been restored this morning to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health's medical annex, 4813 New Haven Ave., health department spokesman John Silcox said. The annex houses the health department's immunization, sexually transmitted disease and infectious disease clinics. For questions on appointments, call 449-7504.
Red Cross helping in Ohio, Colorado
The American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana's emergency response vehicle left Tuesday to help with storm damage relief in Columbus, Ohio. It will be there for at least two weeks unless called to assist with another disaster relief operation, wrote Tracy Duncan Fox, spokeswoman, in an email. The second ERV will remain at the shelter in Fort Wayne unless called out. “Our two volunteers (a husband and wife) with the ERV in Columbus will assist with cleanup operations, sheltering, mental health and other services provided to our clients,” Fox wrote.
Another volunteer has gone to Colorado to assist with the wildfire relief operations.