POTTSTOWN PA – The wintery mix of wet snow and strong winds that Mother Nature delivered Saturday (Oct. 29, 2011) to Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick (PA) townships and the borough of Pottstown ranked among the worst October storms in the history of utility companies that serve those municipalities, providers said. As of this morning (Monday, Oct. 31, 2011) they were still struggling to return electrical power to thousands of household and businesses regionwide.
Philadelphia Electric Co. (PECO), which supplies power to a majority of the area’s consumers, reported Sunday that damaged trees and electrical equipment interrupted service to more than 250,000 of its customers across the greater Philadelphia region.
The more than 12 hours of wintry weather caused widespread damage, especially in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties, PECO said. More than 30,000 locations in Montgomery County alone were without service until late Sunday.
The story was similar with Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed), the FirstEnergy subsidiary that supplies power to portions of Lower Pottsgrove and elsewhere in the area. At one point, company President Chuck Jones said, his workers were “responding to reports of downed wires in more than 15,000 locations.”
As of this morning at 5 a.m., Met-Ed reported 381 greater Pottstown customers, including those in Lower Pottsgrove, were without power; as were 1,437 in Boyertown, 277 in Barto, 175 in Perkiomenville, 81 in Gilbertsville, 22 in Green Lane, and four others in Sassamansville and Frederick.
Because of the extent of damage, the utilities said some customers might expect to be without service until later today or Tuesday. All available employees and contractors were continuing to work until service can be restored, they said.
Both reminded customers to stay away from damaged electric equipment, fallen trees and downed power lines. Passers-by should always assume equipment is energized, they noted, even if there is a power outage in the neighborhood. Customers without service who have not already contacted their electrical providers were urged to do so immediately.
Pottsgrove School District students who took to messaging by cell phone on the Facebook and Twitter social media platforms because their power was out at home hoped school would be canceled today. That wasn’t the case as of 5 a.m. today; they should plan to attend classes.
Students may have felt luckier elsewhere, though. The Boyertown and Owen J. Roberts districts delayed their openings today by two hours. The Daniel Boone district said it would not provide any school transportation on 13 different roads where power lines were downed or fallen trees were blocking passage.
Pottstown’s AM radio station, WBZH, went off the air Saturday after what it said was a power failure in the Maugers Mill Road area. “The (station’s) crew at Pottstown is working to get the generator started and the station back on the air!,” it said on its Facebook page, and added, “Stay safe everybody!”
The Mercury, on its Facebook page, also reported its Sunday print edition might be delayed or not delivered to some customers’ driveways because of poor weather conditions.
Over at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center in Pottstown, where its production of the musical “Pippin” was scheduled for a final weekend run, Saturday’s performance had to be canceled. Saturday tickets were honored for the Sunday matinée, though, and there was talk of adding another performance if necessary.
Out on East High Street in Lower Pottsgrove, the township Historical Society refused to let things like weather and power outages kill its Sunday open house activities. It proceeded as scheduled, and “we had a pretty good turn out,” President Beth Scherer said.
- Free water and ice to Met-Ed customers without power (The Mercury)
- Power restoration in snowy East could take days (The Mercury)
- Curb Tree Damage Around Pottstown After Weekend Snow (Roy’s Rants)
- Now That You Got A Taste Of Winter … (The Pottstown Patch)
- Pottstown Shares October Snow Photos (The Pottstown Patch)
- Snow + Leaves = Crashing Branches (The Pottstown Patch)
- October Snow Woes (The Pottstown Patch)
- Residents say ‘Boo’ to white Halloween (The Mercury)
- Early snow pelts East Coast, cuts power to more than 2 million (The Mercury)
Photos from Fred Remelius (top); and from Jody Rhoads (above) via the Roy’s Rants blog