Ten years ago, a vicious storm blew through Ohio, toppling trees into power lines and leaving many communities in the dark.

Hurricane Ike: A decade ago, powerful storm wiped out power across the Miami Valley region

"It's like nothing we've ever seen before”

Ten years ago, a vicious storm blew through Ohio, toppling trees into power lines and leaving many communities in the dark. 

Hurricane Ike blasted through the Gulf of Mexico causing destruction through Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas before looping to the northeast and striking the state Sept. 14. 

Tree branches are removed from atop a pick-up truck along Short St. in Troy Sunday afternoon. Severe winds from Hurricane Ike caused heavy damage across the entire Miami Valley. Staff photo by Jim Witmer
Photo: Witmer, Jim

It would be more than a week before power was restored for many in the region. 

Across Ohio, 84 counties reported windstorm damage and power outages and state of emergency declarations were issued in 29 counties. The worst damage was around Dayton, Cincinnati and Central Ohio. Six Ohioans died as a result. 

 

The Dayton Daily News reported that across the Miami Valley there weren’t enough four-way stop signs to handle outages, bags of ice disappeared from store freezers and chain saws and generators sold out. 

Tracee Arnold walks her dogs "Chad" and "Baby" through McKinley Park in Dayton Monday morning Sept. 15. High winds that came through the area Sunday Sept. 14 toppled trees throughout the Miami Valley. Staff photo by Lisa Powell.
Photo: Lisa Powell/Lisa Powell

Towering trees were uprooted or snapped in half blocking streets and crushing cars. Neighbors pulled together in Troy to uncover a pick-up parked on Short Street buried under branches, and heavy machinery was called out in Tipp City to clear Broadway Avenue. 

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"It's like nothing we've ever seen before," Sherie Miller, co-owner of Sherdec Tree Service in Cincinnati, said. "I have people in tears calling me."

Volunteers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base cleared debris from roadways to clear a path for the annual Air Force Marathon.

Amy Huber of Xenia, her children and neighborhood made a sign telling all passers-by "9-14-08 Ike has hit Xenia" after the wind storm on September 15. Staff Photo by Teesha McClam
Photo: Teesha McClam

In Franklin, Curt Cooper used a flashlight to pull thawing food from his freezer. Without power, residents on Grand and Oxford Avenues in Dayton cooked meat over charcoal grills to feed to their families before it spoiled. 

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Robert Runyon and his wife Donna bought a grill on the third day without electricity. "I'm really tired of McDonald's now," Donna said as she turned pork chops over a fire. 

A Speedway station on Shroyer Road in Kettering covered its pump nozzles with yellow plastic when they ran out of gas days after the storm hit. 

Stephen Owens (left) and Krisiti Wallace (right) use candles and leave the front door open to let light into their basement apartment at Westbrooke Village Apartments in Trotwood Sunday Sept. 21. About 20 residents held a protest earlier in the day because they have been without power for a week since a windstorm came through the area Sept. 14. Staff photo by Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell/Dayton Daily News

Patience began to wear thin after a week without power and residents protested the Dayton Power and Light Co. 

In Beavercreek, 80-year-old Margaret Chambers whistled at traffic as she and residents of the Fairwood Village, an independent living facility, stood with the aid of walkers along North Fairfield Road with signs reading “DP&L does not care about seniors,” and “DP&L sucks.” 

About 20 residents from Fairwood Village protest along N. Fairfield Rd. in Beavercreek Friday Sept. 19. Fairwood Village, an independent living facility with 81 residents with an average age of 85, has been without power since Sunday. Staff photo by Lisa Powell.
Photo: Lisa Powell/Lisa Powell

Cassandra Benning-Lewis, a resident of Westbrooke Village Apartments in Trotwood who had been living by flashlight and candles, and heating water over cans of Sterno, took part in a rally with other residents calling for help restoring power. 

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Utility crews from across the country worked around the clock to repair downed lines and slowly power was restored to communities. As trucks from New Hampshire rolled through Miamisburg, employees of Long Cleaners stood in front of the store and waved in welcome. 

Carlos Cain, and about 20 other employees of Long Cleaners in Miamisburg, wave to utility trucks from New Hampshire as they drive down Main St. in front of the store Sunday Sept. 21. Employees of the store protested in the afternoon because they have had no power for a week since a windstorm hit Sunday Sept. 14 and have been unable to work. Staff photo by Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell/Dayton Daily News

In a report released the following year, the Ohio Insurance Institute said winds at speeds equal to a Category 1 hurricane — up to 74 mph — tracked diagonally across the state from southwest to northeast over a four-hour period. 

Losses compiled by insurance companies and state government exceeded Ohio’s largest natural disaster in recent history — the Xenia tornado of 1974.

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