GALLIPOLIS — It took strong storms to snap the region’s first heat wave of the year, although the power outages they caused didn’t help matters.
Storms that swept through the area early Tuesday cut off service to about 1,400 American Electric Power customers in Gallia County at its height, mostly in the northern and western sections of the county served by the Rio Grande substation.
The outages began around 4 a.m., and while service for most was restored by mid-morning, there were four customers still without power as of late Wednesday afternoon.
The storms also forced loss of service to AEP customers in surrounding counties. As of Wednesday afternoon, the utility’s website reported there were 920 outages in Athens County, 209 in Jackson County and 609 in Vinton County. All of them were being addressed by AEP crews, according to Jeff Rennie, a spokesman for the company.
At least one tornado was reported in western Ohio and a train was reported blown from its tracks Monday evening.
In Clay Township, southeast of Toledo, witnesses said several freight cars blew off their tracks during strong winds, as the engine continued down the tracks.
The Ottawa County sheriff’s office said the train derailment is being attributed to the weather and no injuries were reported. Power lines and tree limbs were scattered on the ground nearby, as they were throughout the area that was hit hard with strong winds and thunderstorms.
Limbs and winds damaged homes and lightning strikes were reported.
The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings and thunderstorm watches for much of the northwest corner of the state. Trained weather spotters reported a funnel cloud in Wood County, near Bowling Green. Officials also said they spotted a tornado in Middle Point, near Van Wert.
The National Weather Service planned to visit the sites on Tuesday to survey damage and check if the damage came from tornados.
Edison Electric in Toledo said about 3,000 homes lost power in the region. AEP reported at least 14,000 customers were without power in five counties at the height of the storm, and crews are working to restore service to affected areas.
The heat caused problems in other parts of the state. During the afternoon, the National Weather Service reported that a high of 93 in Cleveland broke a 94-year-old record of 92, which was set in 1914.
Locally, sunny skies with highs in the 80s are forecast for the next few days. The next chance of rain is Friday.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)