Power likely back today; restaurants busy, if open
Indiana & Michigan Power website this morning showed more than 1,000 Adams County homes remained without electricity.
The Friday afternoon storm damaged trees and downed power lines as it moved through the area and interrupted electric service for over 118,000 I&M customers in the region. Early today, 48,000 homes in Allen County remained without service. In Wells County, 500 residences were still in the dark and more than 300 Jay County homes were without electrical service.
The I&M website estimated that complete service is expected to be restored in Adams, Wells and Huntington counties by later today.
As of 7 a.m. today, I&M restored service to more than half of the customers that lost service as a result of Friday's storm. Crews from areas ranging from Michigan to Kentucky are assisting with restoration of service.
With Van Wert and Mercer counties in Ohio totally in the dark for most of the weekend, word apparently spread quickly that portions of Decatur had electric service.
Lines for gas were long at D & D Time Savers on the east side of Decatur Friday evening and throughout the day on Saturday, and three of every four cars in line were from Ohio. The station ran out of regular unleaded gas at noon Saturday. By 4 p.m. the premium gas was gone as well.
"They brought us a smidgeon of gas later in the evening. It was a crazy day," said one D & D employee.
Ice was also in heavy demand at the station, and customers were waiting in line when ice deliveries were made, she said.
Electrical outages had both a good and bad effect on area restaurants and food stores in the county.
Some restaurants were jammed Friday night in Decatur with SRO crowds until at least 10 p.m. At the Decatur Pizza Hut, for example, there was a two-hour wait for pizzas as people from all over Adams County, as well as Ohio, and even Wells and southern Allen County descended upon the eatery looking for a meal.
The Adams County Health Department reported at least five establishments were closed temporarily Friday night due to a lack of power. Restaurants on 13th Street north of Washington Street were primarily affected, with the Back 40 Junction, Case Grande Restaurant, El Camino Restaurant, and Spring Garden Restaurant closing for the night after the storm struck around 3 p.m.
The Johnson's Junction convenience store was also closed by the power outage.
The Back 40 Junction is well-known in the area for its crab leg special on Friday night and a kitchen manager reported a group had traveled over two hours to Decatur on Friday just to eat at the Decatur facility — only to have to return home disappointed.
Inspectors checked all establishments on Saturday and found power had been restored to all between 7:30 and 11 p.m. Friday, but all had stayed closed until Saturday. Temperatures of food were checked at the stores on Saturday and all results were good.
As long as freezers and refrigerators were not opened after the power went off, health department officials said the quality of food in homes should be okay. Refrigerated food should be kept at a temperature of 41 degrees or below while frozen food should be in the 0 degree range. Any food that could have been temperature abused should be immediately discarded.
In Monroe, the Brickhouse on Jackson restaurant had a sign posted on its door Saturday that it was closed due to a power outage; however, directly across the street, the new Hawaiian Ice establishment, Shaka Shack, was not affected and had only a momentary loss of power on Friday. The Brickhouse was still closed as of this morning.
A representative of the Country Corner Deli in Monroe reported they had to extend hours on Friday to meet the demands of customers, especially many who had come from the Willshire area seeking gasoline. The Deli was not affected by the power outage and reported a brisk business in both gasoline and food sales.
Numerous establishments in Berne and Geneva were also affected by outages.