PPL Electric crews have worked feverishly to restore power to thousands of customers experiencing interruption of service after a thunderstorm struck Saturday afternoon.
"PPL Electric crews were faced with more than 600 trouble locations," Teri J. MacBride, PPL regional community relations director for the Susquehanna Valley, said Sunday afternoon.
Nearly 60,000 customers were affected. As of 3 p.m., about 8,300 customers still were out of service and PPL had restored more than 50,000.
Stephen Dirk, of 109 Sherman St. in Muncy, uses a chain saw to remove the stump of a tree that once stood in his front yard. According to Dirk’s wife, Richele, center, the top half of the tree fell toward the house, and what remained standing was unsalvageable. Helping the couple is Richele’s sister, Rise, left.
Jobs being worked on Sunday were expected to restore another 4,300 customers.
"We are working as safely and quickly as possible to get customers restored," MacBride said.
Damage in some places is significant. It mostly was caused by wind and lightning and resulted in downed trees and power lines and damaged equipment.
Many of the jobs involve cleanup first, then repair of electric service, so each job can require hours to complete, according to MacBride.
There are 180 crews in the field as part of this restoration effort, she said.
"We expect cleanup in some areas to last until late Monday, though most customers will be back in service before that time," she said. "We are using PPL Electric Utilities and contractor crews and also arranging for additional assistance from contractor crews that were assisting utilities in other states.
Water, ice available
In addition, PPL has activated its ice and water outreach program and is offering free ice and water to customers still without power. Details are at www.pplelectric.com/outage.
On Sunday, water and ice were handed out locally at the Weis Markets on Allegheny Street in Jersey Shore and at the Oval Country Store on Middle Road in the Nippenose Valley, according to Lycoming County 911 Center.
The power outages and interruptions, mostly caused by trees falling across and snapping or damaging wires, many of which remain energized or "hot," had utility personnel scrambling to respond to the many calls for service.
MacBride urged people to remain cautious and avoid at all costs approaching or getting near any downed power lines.
"Always treat them as though they are energized," she said.
Also, if PPL customers have not received a return call about home or business interruption or outage it is OK to make another call to check on the status of repair.
While not overrun with calls, the city had its share.
City Platoon Chief Eric Smith said Sunday firefighters responded to 14 storm-related calls.
As of Sunday, a tree problem on Grant Street and the 400 block of Anthony Street, near Penn Street in the East End, led to power outages for customers.
"PPL wasn't giving out any estimated time of arrival," Smith said.
In Hepburn Township, a tree that blew over in the wind and blocked the upper entrance to Brass' Mobile Home Park at 267 Sawmill Road has been chopped up, according to a resident.
The park didn't lose power, he said, but had a television cable disruption that was repaired within hours. The entrance is across the road from Schmohl's Trailer Park, and to the north on Brass' side of the road lies Tempo Village Mobile Home Park, he said.
Brass' lost television cable for a few hours but that was repaired, the caller said.
Other than flickering lights, electric was preserved.
"Thank God the wires didn't break or there may have been a widespread outage or a fire with a live wire," he said. "A live wire buried in the end of the fallen tree would have easily spread before the fire company could have gotten here and may have spread to mobile homes in the area."
Cooler temps coming
The National Weather Service in State College forecast for the week ahead looks like one of the nicest thus far this summer.
The forecast indicates much cooler temperatures than last week and an occasional chance for thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings.
Today is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 81. The low tonight could reach 60.
Tuesday reaches a high of 82, but with a slight chance of thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Tuesday night, will be cool, with a low of 61.
Temperatures Wednesday should reach 83 degrees and it will be sunny. Again, it will cool into the 60s at night.
From Thursday through Saturday, daytime highs will be in the mid 80s and it will be sunny to partly sunny. It will be a little warmer at night on Friday and Saturday, with temperatures dropping to 66.
As for rainfall, since June 1, the city recorded 4.73 inches of rain. The city had .51 of an inch of rain in July, according to Craig Evanego, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College.