Montgomery County Officials Declare County A Natural Disaster Area

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA — Montgomery County officials issued a disaster declaration Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday night’s ice storm that intensified Wednesday morning. By 9:30 p.m., Governor Corbett signed a disaster emergency proclamation. Corbett explained through his Twitter account that the proclamation will assist state and local authorities in responding to the winter storm.

The county’s disaster declaration means that if needed, the county can receive funds from the federal government and the state government. Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro said the declaration of a disaster also allows for the county to bypass the RFP process for items, like blankets, to give to shelters. He said the disaster declaration does not allow the county to purchase more road salt.

He said the county roads are cleared for the most part and crews are on standby to salt the roads as melting snow and ice freezes into the night.

According to Montgomery County Director of Communications Frank Custer, between 4 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday there were 340 electrical fires reported throughout the county, 1,207 road obstructions and 164 vehicle accidents.

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Update: More Than 35,000 In York County Still Without Power

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:15 p.m. update: Met-Ed has restored power to about 1,000 additional customers in the last three hours, reducing the number of customers without power in York County to about 34,700.

Met-Ed has about 39,000 people without power across the state, an indication that York County is hardest hit among its service areas for power outages from Wednesday’s storm.

The company’s website indicates those outages are scattered throughout the county.

Met-Ed has brought in crews from out of state and has said power should be restored to 99 percent of customers by Saturday night.

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Obama Declares Lancaster County An Emergency Area: What It Means

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With thousands still without power, President Barack Obama on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Lancaster and six other Pennsylvania counties.

The declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to bring resources to the clean-up efforts.

While local officials were still unclear about the extent of federal aid on Thursday afternoon, a FEMA spokesman said the first tangible result will likely come to the county in the form of gas-powered generators.

Peter Herrick, of Philadelphia-based FEMA Region III, said federal emergency management officials were talking to their counterparts at the state level to determine what equipment is needed.

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PPL Customers Will See About 4 Percent Increase In Bill

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Customers of PPL Electric Utilities will see monthly bills increase by about 4 percent next year, resulting from recent state Public Utility Commission action.

The PUC on Dec. 5 granted Allentown-based PPL a 10.4 percent rate of return on income for shareholders.  The approval will increase the average bill for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatts of electricity monthly by about $4.77 to $116.37, according to a PUC estimate.

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PA-NY-NJ Picking Up After Hurricane Sandy’s Epic Devastation

The sodden, wind-blown tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania began an arduous journey back to normal on Wednesday after mammoth storm Sandy killed at least 82 people in a rampage that swamped coastal cities and cut power to millions across the Northeast.

Financial markets reopened with the New York Stock Exchange running on generator power after the first weather-related two-day closure since an 1888 blizzard. Packed buses took commuters to work with New York’s subway system idle after seawater flooded its tunnels.

The U. S. Navy said it was moving ships closer to areas affected by the disaster in case they might be needed, including the helicopter carrier USS Wasp.

Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean as a hurricane before crashing ashore just south of Atlantic City, N.J. Monday night as Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy, which became a rare hybrid superstorm after merging with another weather system to deliver 80 mile-per-hour winds and record storm surges.

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Thousands Still Without Power In Altoona And Surrounding Area

English: Undetailed map of Altoona, Pennsylvan...

English: Undetailed map of Altoona, Pennsylvania and some surrounding areas From my talk page: :I drew the map of Altoona in xpaint from a map on the Internet and a Rand-McNally atlas. It’s in the public domain. — Djinn112 04:40, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC) –$ 02:38, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC) Category:Altoona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four buildings partially collapsed Monday night in Altoona, according to city police.

Emergency crews kept busy tonight with flooded basements, damaged structures and downed trees and power lines as now-post-tropical Sandy continues its march into the mid-Atlantic states.

The humongous storm also brought a wintry mix as far north as Johnstown.

Around 9:45 p.m. Monday, police said they would likely close Fifth and Sixth avenues near Union Avenue in Altoona for the entire night after winds blew a huge chunk of a brick building onto the roadway.

High winds whipped against nearby pedestrians as emergency vehicles blocked the roads.

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One Dead, Thousands Without Power; Roads Remain Closed In NEPA

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8-year-old Susquehanna County boy died Monday when wind from superstorm Sandy knocked a tree limb onto him north of Montrose, authorities said.

And while widespread power outages have left nearly 150,000 in the dark, Northeast Pennsylvania, for the most part, escaped the devastation Sandy left in many other areas.

“We can report back that everything is in really good shape,” Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien said at a 6 a.m. briefing.

In Lackawanna County, eleven 911 dispatchers and two supervisors handled 1,313 calls from 3 p.m. Monday through 6 this morning, with downed power lines being the main source of problems.

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Philadelphia, Suburbs Emerge From Sandy

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scene at the corner of Chelten and Wissahickon avenues in Philadelphia said it all: A blue mountain bike, badly mangled and turned upside down, but still somehow tethered to a bicycle rack.

The city and its suburbs emerged shaken but largely intact Tuesday morning, after taking a night’s beating from Sandy’s high winds and rain. Some people remained in shelters, but waterways were receding in certain areas, and many residents were coming outside to survey the damage and take a deep breath of relief.

Travel remained challenging, with downed power lines and trees closing streets. SEPTA began resuming services at noon, hoping to bring the system to full strength piece by piece. Shopping malls planned to reopen Tuesday, though an estimated 1.2 million were without power across Pennsylvania.

A Peco spokesperson said total outages for Southeastern Pennsylvania reached more than 800,000 at the height of the storm, shattering previous records, and as of Tuesday morning 585,000 were without service. Restoration could take days.

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Thousands In Lancaster County Still Without Power In Aftermath Of Sandy

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Creeks and rivers are rising, roads are closed and thousands of people still are without power, but Lancaster County awoke today relatively unscathed from Sandy.

The storm dumped anywhere from 2.5 to 5 inches of rain on the county and unleashed steady winds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of up to 50 mph.

About 5,800 people were without power in scattered locations from West Cocalico to Drumore townships early today, down from about 8,500 earlier in the day.

At sunrise, about 40 roads were closed, mostly due to downed trees and utility poles.

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Sandy’s Lehigh Valley Impact: Two Deaths, Power Outages, Damaged Trees, Closed Roads

Hurricane Sandy left about 400,000 homes and businesses in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos regions in the dark and without as many trees and has been blamed for the death of a 17-year-old Wind Gap boy and a Berks County man.

Robert Mills of 81 Eighth St. died in Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest after crashing an all-terrain-vehicle into a fallen tree about 9:30 p.m. Monday in Plainfield Township, Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim reported. Grim said Mills was thrown off the ATV when he drove into the tree which had fallen on W. Center Street near Route 33, and he suffered fatal head injuries.

A fallen tree also caused the death of a 62-year-old Berks County man Monday night.  The Berks County coroner’s office said Gerald Witman was killed when a tree fell on his home in Pike Township near Boyertown,

Local officials did not report any significant damage to buildings or public structures except for three house fires Monday night in Buck County in the 1300 block of Old Bethlehem Pike near Quakertown and in Tinicum Township and Chalfont.  Though it was not immediately clear if they were linked to the storm, an emergency radio dispatcher said no injuries were reported in the fires.

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Superstorm Weakening, Worst Has Passed For Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA — A one-two punch of rain and high wind from a monster hybrid storm that started out as a hurricane battered Pennsylvania, leaving more than a million people without power as officials prepared to assess the damage Tuesday.

The storm soaked Philadelphia and its suburbs Monday night but forecasters said the worst was behind the state by daybreak Tuesday.

Major interstates around Philadelphia reopened Tuesday morning although some speed and vehicle restrictions remained in place across the state.  Additional road closures were likely in the day ahead, as the center of the storm was forecast to turn north from the Harrisburg area.

The severity of the storm in Pennsylvania expressed itself during the day Monday through a set of increasingly worrisome numbers, from the hundreds of people who fled their homes in the southeastern part of the state to the power outages affecting more than 1.2 million customers by early Tuesday.

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Pottstown / Tri-County Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Information

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Updated at 11:08 p.m.) POTTSTOWN, PA — Numerous power outages and downed trees are making travel dangerous this morning after Hurricane Sandy blew through the area.  Route 100 is closed in several locations due to wires including at Pughtown Road, Route 23, Prizer and Flowing Springs roads in Chester County.

The Perkiomen Creek is rising fast and is expected to crest later this morning.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Gov. Tom Corbett asked residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, though this did not stop a crowd of people from lining up for coffee and donuts at the Pottstown Dunkin Donuts on East High Street.

Around 9 a.m., the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation lifted speed limit restrictions on most major highways in the state except for Interstate 90 and 79 in the northwest.  The remains of Tropical storm Sandy were slowly heading northwest toward the Great Lakes Tuesday morning.

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Thousands Without Power In Berks County

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Met-Ed spokesman R. Scott Surgeoner said utility crews from as far away as Michigan were fanning out this morning across Berks County assessing the damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Sandy.

By 9:15, Met-Ed reported more than 67,000 customers were without power, including more than 8,800 in Reading; nearly 5,800 in Exeter Township; and more than 4,000 in Cumru Township.  PPL Electric Utilities reported about 4,000 outages, of which about half were in Wyomissing.

In order to get a jump on storm damage, Met-Ed had crews out Monday night and early today during the height of the high winds and sometimes heavy rains.

“Once the winds reach 40 mph we can’t have anyone in a bucket up in the air,” Surgeoner said.

“We still had crews out doing ground work.”

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Pottstown Area Information Regarding Hurricane Sandy

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, the storm shelter at Pottstown High School already had 20 guests.

In Pottstown, Hanover Street between Third and Fourth streets has been closed for low tree branches and power lines.  (Thanks to Tom Hylton!)

The Coventry Mall will close at 2 p.m. today.

However, as of 10:30 a.m., Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target all planned to remain open throughout the day.

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Berks County Likely To Be Among Hardest-Hit Inland Areas

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

High winds and heavy rains leading to power outages and flooding are expected to slam Berks County today as residents endure the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.

Berks will likely be among the hardest-hit inland areas, and officials urged residents to prepare for the worst.

“This storm has not been overhyped,” Berks County Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach said today.  “It will have significant impact.”

Leinbach said residents should have up to three days of food and supplies should there be widespread power outages.

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A State-By-State Look At The East Coast Superstorm

Hurricane Sandy is churning off the East Coast and is expected to join up with two other weather systems to create a huge and problematic storm affecting 50 million people. Here’s a snapshot of what is happening or expected, state by state.


The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 members of a crew forced to abandon a tall ship about 90 miles off the North Carolina coast and continued to search for two other crew members. The storm lashed barrier islands and rendered several homes and businesses nearly inaccessible.


The number of power outages increased quickly in a state where utilities’ response to past weather-related failures has become a political issue. Connecticut Light & Power says hundreds of customers are without power. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy asked a task force to ensure fuel suppliers are fully stocked. Many residents along Long Island Sound heeded warnings and evacuated.


Hundreds of people fled to shelters as rough surf pounded the coast. Water covered some roads.

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Berks County Braces For Hurricane Early Next Week

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Almost a year after a freak Halloween snowstorm buried Berks County, utility companies are preparing for the possibility of more rare weather: a hurricane that forecasters say could cause trouble here early next week.

Hurricane Sandy was still a long way off northeast of Cuba on Thursday, but it seemed to be heading this way with strong winds and heavy rain that could bring flooding, property damage and power outages, AccuWeather said.

There could be wind gusts of at least 50 mph and several inches of rain, meteorologist Tom Kines said.

The worst case is that it continues on its current northward track, while the best case is that it heads east out to sea, resulting in only a normal rainstorm, he said. If severe weather comes, it will most likely arrive Monday night or early Tuesday.

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Isaac Steers Clear Of Direct Blow On New Orleans

Location of Orleans Parish in Louisiana

Location of Orleans Parish in Louisiana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Isaac sidestepped New Orleans on Wednesday, sending the worst of its howling wind and heavy rain into a cluster of rural fishing villages that had few defenses against the slow-moving storm that could bring days of unending rain.

Isaac arrived exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina and passed slightly to the west of New Orleans, where the city’s fortified levee system easily handled the assault.

The city’s biggest problems seemed to be downed power lines, scattered tree limbs and minor flooding.  Just one person was reported killed, compared with 1,800 deaths from Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi.  And police reported few problems with looting.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew just to be sure.

But in Plaquemines Parish, a sparsely populated area south of the city that is outside the federal levee system, dozens of people were stranded in flooded coastal areas.  The storm pushed water over an 18-mile levee and put so much pressure on it that authorities were considering intentionally puncturing the floodwall to relieve the strain.

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Nearly 7,000 Still Without Power In NEPA

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly 7,000 PPL Electric Utilities in Northeast Pennsylvania are still without power this morning due to Thursday’s thunderstorms.

A total of 6,737 PPL customers in Lackawanna, Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Susquehanna and Luzerne counties were still without power as of 8:30 a.m., according to the utility’s outage website.

Wayne County had greatest number of customers still without power this morning with 2,701 customers out, though an additional 1,040 had already been restored.

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Potter County Woman Among 2 Dead After Intense Storms

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Potter County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Potter County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been killed by a tree felled by powerful storms that left tens of thousands of customers without power, mostly in western and central Pennsylvania.

The Potter County coroner says 66-year-old Linda Button was killed Thursday evening in Genesee Township. That’s about 150 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, near the New York border.  State police in Coudersport expect to release more details later Friday.

First Energy Corp. reported about 70,000 customers without power on Friday morning, with the worst problems in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh, and Cambria County, east of the city.  Thousands more outages were reported by PPL Corp. in central Pennsylvania.

In New York City, the storm is blamed for killing a 61-year-old man who was struck by collapsing scaffolding outside a Brooklyn church.  Police say lighting brought bricks down onto the scaffolding.

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