Su­per­storm brings down trees, leaves thou­sands with­out power

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Meghan Ross

Hur­ri­cane Sandy caused wide­spread power out­ages and sev­eral road clo­sures in Perkasie Mon­day, Oct. 29.

Perkasie usu­ally has two power ser­vices: its own and PPL. Mon­day night, how­ever, both lines went out, leav­ing no way for the bor­ough to re­ceive elec­tric­ity, ac­cord­ing to As­sis­tant Bor­ough Man­ager An­drea Coaxum.

The PPL line was knocked out around 9 p.m. Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to Coaxum. Be­cause of the high winds, no crews were able to go out in bucket trucks to re­store power lines Mon­day night. PPL re­stored its lines early Tues­day morn­ing, so some Perkasie res­i­dents gained power around 7:30 a.m. Tues­day.

Around 12:45 p.m. Tues­day, Oct. 30, all Perkasie houses had gained back elec­tric­ity ex­cept for 25 to 30 homes in a “very lo­cal­ized” area, ac­cord­ing to Coaxum.

Only a hand­ful of homes in Perkasie were still with­out elec­tric­ity by 11:30 a.m. Wed­nes­day, Oct. 31, ac­cord­ing to Coaxum.

Coaxum said the bor­ough’s goal was to re­store elec­tric­ity to ev­ery­one in Perkasie by night­time Wed­nes­day, Oct. 31.

In ad­di­tion to the power out­ages, there were also three road clo­sures in Perkasie Tues­day, Oct. 30. A sec­tion of Mar­ket Street be­tween Ridge Road and Ninth Street was closed due to a tree. A por­tion of Bloom­ing Glen Road was closed be­tween Ridge Road and Seventh Street be­cause of a tree, as well. Elec­tric wires caused a por­tion of Ninth Street to close from Race Street to Vine Street.

By Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Oct. 31, the three roads were re­opened, ac­cord­ing to Coaxum.

Coaxum also said there were no se­ri­ous flood­ing prob­lems or ac­ci­dents re­lated to the storm.

The bor­ough’s Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter was open early Mon­day morn­ing and was staffed with peo­ple an­swer­ing phone calls and keep­ing records of power out­ages.

Hur­ri­cane Sandy caused power out­ages and road clo­sures in Hill­town Town­ship, as well.

Hill­town Chief of Po­lice Chris En­gle­hart said the town­ship was still as­sess­ing the dam­age as of

11 a.m. Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

En­gle­hart said there were still sev­eral road clo­sures in Hill­town by Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon; these in­cluded por­tions of Di­a­mond Street and Church, Wel­come­house, Mill, Cal­lowhill, South Perkasie, Tele­graph, Skunkhol­low, rp­per Stump, Mid­dle, Sch­wenkmill and Town­ship Line roads.

Power out­ages were also a prob­lem in Hill­town, but some power started to re­turn in the town­ship Tues­day night, En­gle­hart said.

In ad­di­tion, traf­fic lights were still a prob­lem by Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to En­gle­hart.

Traf­fic lights were not func­tion­ing both at Orvilla Road and Hill­town Cross­ing on Route 309, as well as the off and on ramp of Route 309 and 113. The light at Hill­town Plaza and Route 113 was off, as well as the light at County Line Plaza/ Soud­er­ton Square.

A light at Hill­town Pike and Cal­lowhill Road was flash­ing and was un­able to be re­set, ac­cord­ing to En­gle­hart.

En­gle­hart said there were no se­ri­ous road ac­ci­dents, but one ac­ci­dent was at­trib­uted to a traf­fic light not work­ing.

En­gle­hart wanted to re­mind driv­ers to treat non-func­tion­ing traf­fic lights as a four-way stop, un­less there is a po­lice of­fi­cer or fire po­lice of­fi­cer there to di­rect traf­fic.

“Some mo­torists be­lieve the lack of power re­lieves them of their obli­ga­tion to stop and yield, which cre­ates a very dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion and does not al­low for the proper flow of traf­fic,” En­gle­hart said.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of last year’s late Oc­to­ber snow, this was the sec­ond year in a row power was off at and the mu­nic­i­pal of­fices closed in West Rock­hill and East Rock­hill on Hal­loween.

“Like ev­ery­where else, we have a lot of downed power lines and trees,” Ju­dith Decker, West Rock­hill’s town­ship sec­re­tary/as­sis­tant man­ager, said as she and other town­ship work­ers, in­clud­ing Tax Col­lec­tor Suzanne Clarke, tem­po­rar­ily re­lo­cated to the Pen­nridge Re­gional Po­lice head­quar­ters Wed­nes­day.

“We don’t have any catas­tro­phes, just a lot of downed trees and lo­cal roads will be closed,” Decker said the af­ter­noon of Oct. 31. “Our guys have been work­ing kind of around the clock.”

“North of the Ridge is re­ally kind of a mess,” with many downed trees, Don­ald Du­vall, West Rock­hill Town­ship Board of Su­per­vi­sors chair­man, said.

Town­ship Man­ager Greg Lip­pin­cott and the pub­lic works crew were out work­ing on the cleanup from the storm, Du­vall and Decker said.

Du­vall said he’d talked to Lip­pin­cott by cell­phone at a work site about a half hour be­fore speak­ing with a re­porter in the early af­ter­noon of Oct. 31.

“All I could hear in the back­ground was chain­saws,” Du­vall said.

Bucks County was hit the hard­est with PECO power out­ages, com­pared to Mont­gomery, Chester, Delaware and Philadel­phia coun­ties.

A PECO me­dia contact said the storm caused the most power out­ages in its his­tory, with out­ages for more than 850,000 peo­ple — over half of its cus­tomers. By 2:45 p.m. Wed­nes­day, PECO had re­stored ser­vice to 475,000 cus­tomers, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia contact.

In Bucks County, there were still 165,000 cus­tomers with­out ser­vice, as of 2:45 Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia contact. PECO work­ers from far-away states such as Ten­nessee, Ken­tucky, Louisiana and Mis­sis­sippi have been out in the field help­ing to re­store power, ac­cord­ing to the PECO web­site.

A PECO me­dia contact said Wed­nes­day it may take a week or more to re­store ser­vice to ev­ery­one.

Perkasie Bor­ough’s next curb­side brush pickup will be Wed­nes­day, Nov. 7. Res­i­dents can call the bor­ough to be put on the list of curb­side brush pickup lo­ca­tions.

Sellersville Bor­ough Man­ager David Rivet said in a pub­lic an­nounce­ment trash pickup Tues­day, Oct. 30, would be can­celed. He expected nor­mal col­lec­tion to start Thurs­day, Nov. 1, or Fri­day, Nov. 2.

The Sellersville Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany chief said in a Face­book post:

“Great big thank you to the Sta­tion 27 fire­fight­ers and of­fi­cers who put their community first and rode out the hur­ri­cane. We also want to give a big thank you to the de­part­ments who as­sisted us. It was a busy day/night but we stood our ground. The community should be ex­tremely proud of our pro­fes­sion­als.”

Hal­loween was sched­uled to oc­cur Wed­nes­day, Oct. 31, from 6 to 9 p.m., in Perkasie and in Sellersville, ac­cord­ing to Coaxum. The bor­ough en­cour­aged par­ents to ac­com­pany their chil­dren be­cause of the de­bris that may still be on the streets.

It was up to Hill­town res­i­dents to de­ter­mine whether chil­dren could safely go trick-or-treat­ing Wed­nes­day tonight. En­gle­hart ad­vised Hill­town res­i­dents to forego trick-or-treat­ing Wed­nes­day.

The Pen­nridge School Dis­trict was closed Mon­day, Oct. 29, through Thurs­day, Nov.1.

Staff writer Bob Keeler con­trib­uted re­port­ing to this ar­ti­cle.

Wind gusts push pour­ing rain across Up­per Bucks County Community Col­lege park­ing lot Mon­day. The school was closed due Hur­ri­cane Sandy.

News-her­ald pho­tos — DEBBY HIGH

Fall­ing tree limbs bring down power lines in Perkasie.

Hur­ri­can winds split an Amer­i­can Elm tree on Fifth Street in Perkasie.

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