(TNS) - An Ohio State University employee was struck by lightning during a Thursday morning storm, and evening storms battered Columbus and areas of central Ohio where flooding had already forced some evacuations and closed roadways.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington extended a flood warning until at least 8:45 a.m. Friday for hardest hit areas in southeastern Franklin County, northern Fairfield County, northeastern Pickaway County and southern Licking County.
Some residents in Hebron and Pataskala in Licking County had to be evacuated Thursday because of flooding along the South Fork of the Licking River. Homes were evacuated along Licking View Drive and it's connecting roads from just south of Hopewell Drive down to Fieldson Drive.
The American Red Cross Ohio Buckeye Region established a shelter at Hebron Church of the Nazarene at 115 Cumberland St. in Hebron, said Sean Grady, director of the Licking County Emergency Management Agency.
Further south, flooding from the South Fork forced evacuations at Greenbriar Village Mobile Home Park. More than 30 people were taken by the Red Cross to a nearby Best Western Hotel, according to a hotel employee.
A Red Cross representative said a total shelter attendance would not be available until Friday morning.
Roadway flooding affected COTA routes 1, 2 and 31. Some buses were re-routed near 12th Avenue because of flash-flooding on High Street.
A 61-year-old woman working at an event outside near the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on the Ohio State University campus was struck by lightning while trying to get indoors and escape the torrential rain. Columbus Division of Fire responded after her husband called 911, and she was taken to Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.
Ohio State officials would not identify the woman or describe her condition.
Several thousand AEP customers in the Columbus area lost power during the day, with as many as 65 separate power failures reported in the heart of the city and more in other areas, according to the energy company's website. By about 7:30 p.m., roughly 4,200 AEP customers were still without power, Scott Fuller, an AEP spokesman, said in an email. The majority of outages were in southeastern Ohio, he said.
Power was expected to be restored to the majority of customers by 10 p.m. However, that was before another storm hit the area about 9:30 p.m.
The weather service said its rain gauge at Columbus John Glenn International Airport had recorded a total of 3.06 inches of rain as of 10:20 p.m.
In one two-hour period, 2 to 3 1/2 inches of rain had fallen in an area from Upper Arlington through Gahanna to Reynoldsburg, Pickerington, Pataskala and Buckeye Lake, according to the weather service. As of 8:30 p.m., about 3.60 inches of heavy rainfall had been reported at Thurston in Fairfield County.
The first of the planned four-day Picktown Palooza celebration in Pickerington was canceled by flooding. One of organizers, Chris Stein, said event planners and local government officials were trying to find another location to hold the event.
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