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Storm Damages, Disrupts Philadelphia Area

Sandy is mostly gone. What do residents and officials need to fix now?

The dangerous strong winds and deluges of ex-Hurricane Sandy—the massive, possibly once-in-a-mid-Atlantic-lifetime confluence of tropical storm and nor'easter—moved out of the Philadelphia area on Tuesday.

Ill effects varied in severity throughout the region, though nowhere in the city or Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties did they approach the destruction and chaos seen at the Jersey Shore, where Sandy had alighted from the Atlantic Ocean.

The most significant tangible effects of the storm were widespread power outages, road blockages from debris and floods, and closures to schools, businesses and government agencies. Some milder rain and wind may linger late into the week, too.

As of early Wednesday morning, Montgomery and Philadelphia each had more than 50,000 outages, Delaware and Chester each 20,000 to 50,000, according to PECO.

See below for county-by-county synopses. All rainfall totals are from the National Weather Service, and power outage totals are from PECO, as of early Wednesday morning.

PHILADELPHIA

Rainfall total: 2.9 inches (12:30 p.m. Tuesday)

In big storms, Manayunk traditionally sustains substantial flooding. As Hurricane Sandy never caused the Schuylkill River to crest, Main Street remained dry. Other than a power outage for part of Main Street, which was restored Tuesday afternoon, Manayunk exited the storm unscathed.

Roxborough got hit harder in terms of disruption, but the large, residential neighborhood only experienced pockets of power outages. Several large trees uprooted—from Wissahickon to Shawmont to Andorra—but these mostly fell away from properties.

While utility crews were out in West Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill early Tuesday morning, many Northwest residents were without power as Hurricane Sandy left the area. Major roads like Germantown Avenue, Stenton and Chew Avenues and Lincoln Drive are open and passable, while smaller roads like Bells Mill Lane and Phil-Ellena Street are obstructed by fallen trees and debris.

CHESTER COUNTY

Top power outages:

  • Tredyffrin Township: more than 3,500
  • Easttown Township: 1,500 to 3,500
  • Willistown Township: 1,500 to 3,500

Rainfall totals: 

West Chester made it through Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed.  Although many residents did experience power outages, there was not a widespread blackout. A tree fell near a house Monday around 10 p.m., but no one was seriously injured.

Trees were felled and power was lost in Phoenixville, but the big news from Sandy is what didn't happen: flooding. Save a handful of crews scattered across the borough working on toppled trees and downed wires, all has returned to normal in the borough. Mayor Leo Scoda announced that trick-or-treating, to the relief of stir crazy children—and probably their parents—will still be held on Wednesday night.

In Malvern, Hurricane Sandy caused floods or laid trees across many roadways, closing them. Hundreds of residents lost power, but the area escaped the major damage the storm caused elsewhere.

Among the many power outages in Tredyffrin Township was a fallen live wire that sparked and sizzled on a wet front lawn.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Top power outages:

Rainfall totals:

  • Media: 5 inches (8 a.m. Tuesday)

Power outages were aplenty in Marple Newtown as well as downed wires and trees. A few of the trees fell on major roadways like Bishop Hollow Road and West Chester Pike by SAP in Newtown Square but also a handful of local roads were announced closed due to fallen wires and trees. One family also had the misfortune of having a large tree fall on their Newtown Square home but no injuries were reported. Two Broomall women checked into a local emergency shelter on Monday night at the Martins Run Senior Living Center in Marple.

Middletown Township saw power outages, downed trees and road closures. Upper Providence and Media had traffic lights out Tuesday afternoon at two big intersections—Rose Tree Road and Providence Rd in Upper Providence, and Providence Road and Baltimore Avenue in Media—and both had temporary stop signs in place.

Springfield had many businesses close during the storm, including the Springfield Mall. The Wawa on Baltimore Pike fielded plenty of customers for gas and snacks, though, and Hunan Buffet served lunch.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Virtually half the buildings of Lower Merion were without power at one point Tuesday morning—more of them in the Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne and Penn Valley areas than other neighborhoods like Ardmore and Bala Cynwyd, if the concentration of PECO and public works crews was any indication.

Trees and other debris caused road blockages in several neighborhoods and business districts, perhaps most notably on Montgomery Avenue through Narberth and Penn Valley, where utility poles toppled. It was unclear when they might be removed and replaced.

Lower Merion's 12,000 power outages Tuesday morning dwindled to about 7,000 by the afternoon. Narberth was thought to have fewer than 500 throughout the day.

Debbie Thomas October 31, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Thank God no lives were lost in the area. Damaged trees can be cut, power will be restored, properties can be repaired. You can't get back a human life.
coach001 November 14, 2012 at 11:03 AM
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