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Overnight storm damage limited

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Tree branches had to be removed from roadways, power lines repaired and electrical fires put out during Thursday night’s storm.

The wind, not rain, was the biggest cause of damage in the county, Johnson County 911 director Mike Watkins said. Wind speeds were as high as 70 mph during the worst of the storm, knocking tree limbs into streets and driveways. The highest rainfall in the county came down southwest of Greenwood, with 1.7 inches falling, National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Dahmer said.

Police officers, county highway workers and firefighters responded to more than 10 calls about fallen tree branches on streets and driveways, including one early Friday. Greenwood and Whiteland firefighters also were called to help in Marion County, Watkins said.

In the county, a tree branch fell on a car as it was traveling on County Road 125W near County Road 100N. One passenger, a teenage girl, was taken to the hospital with a cut to her leg. Her condition was not available Friday.

In Whiteland, one branch was blocking Tracy Road and another fell on a resident’s car parked in the driveway, Police Chief Rick Shipp said. The department had extra officers working to prepare for the storm but had fewer emergency calls due to the weather than expected, he said.

Power lines went down in some areas of the county, causing fire and house alarms to go off and sparking electrical fires in at least two homes, Watkins said. The fires were all minor, no one was injured, and no home had serious damage, he said.

At least three residents called to report homes in their neighborhood were on fire, but when firefighters arrived they found that downed power lines were arcing and making it appear like the home was on fire, he said.

While most power was restored overnight, 67 Franklin residents did not have theirs turned back on until Friday afternoon, Duke Energy spokesman Lew Middleton said.

Johnson County REMC had 1,100 homes with power outages overnight, chief executive officer Chet Aubin said. All but two homes, where electrical damage had occurred, had power restored by Friday morning, he said.

Most of the storm-related calls came during the worst of the weather, from 9 to 11 p.m., Watkins said.

Most bigger tree branches that fell in the county had been removed by Friday afternoon, officials say. Workers were out Friday for cleanup of smaller branches and any larger ones were moved to the side of the road. They will finish any remaining work on Monday.

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