Superstorm brings down trees, leaves thousands without power
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.
Falling tree limbs bring down power lines in Perkasie.
Hurrican winds split an American Elm tree on Fifth Street in Perkasie.