Power may be restored Thursday as another storm approaches

New emergency numbers provided, National Guard responds

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  • Wires criss-crossed Route 590 on Monday morning (Photo by Pamela Chergotis)

  • Route 434 was closed Monday morning at the intersection with Greeley Lake Road, which was open through to Route 6 (Photo by Pamela Chergotis)

  • Several dozen big utility trucks lined Route 6 on Monday morning, about 11 miles outside of Milford (Photo by Pamela Chergotis)

  • A plow got stuck at Sunrise Lakes during the storm on Friday (Photo by Nina Verissimo)

  • This ruler shows 23 inches of snow fell on a porch at Sunrise Lakes (Photo by Nina Verissimo)

  • Tree leaning on a wire along Route 434 on Monday morning (Photo by Pamela Chergotis)

  • Wires on the ground, Route 434 (Photo by Pamela Chergotis)

  • Healthy trees snapped in half under the brute force of Winter Storm Riley (Photo by Pamela Chergotis)

  • Power lines were brought to the ground by fallen trees throughout the area (Photo by Pamela Chergotis)

Tree clearing update

This in from Milford Borough on tree clearing:
"Tree crews will be clearing the following areas: Old Bridge Rd. to 209; Harford St. to Montague; Route 6 north of Owego; Route 6 to Route 84 Moon Valley Schocopee; main construction crews: Cummins Hill Meadow Dr., Moon Valley & associated side streets; Owego Schocopee main & fire tower. Due to extensive damage in the construction areas, customers in these areas may not be restored today."

— Pike County Power & Light says its "realistic goal" is to restore power to 95 percent of its customers by Thursday evening, March 8 — just as a new snowstorm is expected to be underway.

On Monday morning, dozens of utility trucks lined Route 6 about 11 miles outside of Milford as workers endeavored to restore brutalized power lines.

"We have crews diligently working to restore service" after the severe damage wrought by Winter Stormy Riley, said PCP&L on Sunday. "Damage assessment has confirmed approximately 30 broken poles, numerous spans of wire on the ground and an abundance of tree related damage. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this state of emergency."

Residents on country roads were isolated as they waited for snowplows, which were obstructed by dangerous tangles of utility wires and trees that had fallen across nearly every side road. Not only were these residents without power, most had no phone service, cell service, or internet service. Residents without alternate heat sources like woodstoves, or who lacked potable water, food, or needed medications, were in trouble.

"You couldn’t drive down a road for more than three or four minutes without coming to a mess of down wires, or a fallen tree, and having to turn back the way you came," said Nina Verissimo of Sunrise Lakes. "Trips that normally take minutes took hours."

She saw a plow truck pulled out of a snowbank by a dump truck. Then, about a half hour later, "I saw that dump truck tipped off the road into another snowbank and abandoned," she said.

She described long lines at gas stations, including bundled-up people carrying red gas containers.

"People with cars full of luggage were flagging us down to plow them out of their driveway so they could leave Pennsylvania," she said.

As of Sunday, March 4, Greenwood Circle, Greenwood Drive, Fern Place, Harvey Road, Lyle Road, Mill Ridge Drive and Pond Drive had been restored to power, according to PCP&L. The day before, the company reported an estimated 600 to 1,000 customers were without power.

In Dingman Township, as of Monday March 5, Mobile Equipment Teams (MET) were reporting that out of 5,492 customers served, 5,489 customers are without power — 99.9 percent. MET's estimated time of restoration is March 7 at 11 p.m.

The power outage and storm damage also caused Delaware Valley schools to be closed on Monday, March 5, with Dingman Delaware Elementary School and the Shohola Elementary School campuses without power, according to a tweet from the superintendent.

Delaware Valley school board member Jack O'Leary said the district will be closed Wednesday, March 7. The high school will continue to be used as a warming station from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., with showers and electricity available.

"The school closing situation will continue to be monitored on a day to day basis," he said on Facebook.

In the event of an emergencyThe American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania has set up two shelters in Pike County:

Dingman Township V.F.D., 680 Log Tavern Rd., Milford, PA

Central Volunteer Fire Department, 574 Westcolang Rd., Hawley, PA

Delaware Valley High School was to be open until 2 p.m. on Monday a warming station (enter the high school by the pool).

Governor Wolf also said Saturday that 65 soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard are on the ground in the Eastern Pennsylvania counties most heavily affected. At least 90 troops were expected to be deployed in the area.

Soldiers are performing wellness checks, assisting county and State Police personnel, and using large heavy-duty vehicles capable of moving large vehicles, such as tractor trailers, from trapped roadways, including I-380, to allow passage of all vehicles.

Wolf activated the Pennsylvania National Guard on Friday night, when hundreds of travelers were stranded on highways and side roads and 600,000 were left without power.

Local residents were unnerved by the explosive sounds of trees and utility poles snapping in half under the onslaught of hurricane-force winds and heavy snow. White pines were especially vulnerable, with even big, healthy specimens snapping like twigs. One man said Route 97 resembled photos he'd seen of the tropics after a hurricane, pines and poles instead of palms. The weight of the trees falling on power lines brought them to the ground. Some were draped dangerously over roads like swag made of wire and cable.

PPL Electric Utilities said the storm “will rank among the 10 most damaging" in PPL's service area, especially in the Poconos and Lehigh valley as well as northern Bucks and Montgomery counties. The utility said it had about 3,000 workers, contractors and support personnel working on the problem, and had 98,000 customers out Saturday afternoon after restoring power to about 75,000 customers.

Police in Montgomery County said officers found a 45-foot portion of a tree had fallen on the front windshield, dashboard and front seat of a car at about 7 p.m. Friday in Upper Merion Township, killing a 57-year-old man. The National Weather Service said almost two feet of snow was reported in parts of the Pocono mountains, with 23.6 inches recorded on Coolbaugh Township and 20 inches reported in Tobyhanna.

New emergency numbersResidents needing 911 emergency assistance should dial 570-296-7700, said Timothy Knapp of the Pike County Emergency Management Agency, Department of Public Safety. For non-emergency situations, use 570-296-1963.

Knapp said that as work continues, the following exchanges that unable to use 911 and should dial 570-296-7700. The phone exchanges affected are:







Kelly Decker Staszewsk kindly posted the following on Facebook on Sunday: "Because I know some people are out of wood. And need heat. I have free pieces of wood. Located at 310 East Hartford Street, Milford Pa 18337 All Occasion Fireworks. It is at the end of my front of store deck. Take as much as you want. We are remodeling our store. And may help you keep warm."

Pike County Power & Light warns about carbon monoxide poisoning, which becomes more likely under these conditions. Only operate a generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed, or carport.

If you suspect CO poisoning, immediately evacuate the premises and call 911.

Signs of CO buildup are stuffy, stale, or smelly air with high indoor humidity; fallen soot from a fireplace chimney or furnace flue; no draft in the chimney or flue; and no draft backing out of the flue diverter when the furnace is operating. Make sure the flue pipe connection to the furnace chimney is tight and the pipes aren’t dented or cracked. Never leave a vehicle or gasoline-powered equipment running in a garage, even with the garage door open. For the same reason, don’t use grills indoors or portable generators in an enclosed space.

Winter Storm Watch in effectA Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Pike County from Tuesday at 9 p.m. until Thursday at 3 a.m., according to the U.S. National Weather Service. Heavy snow is possible, with the potential for up to 4 to 8 inches of snow, with locally higher amounts.

Plan on difficult travel conditions. Heavy wet snow may bring down tree limbs and utility wires, resulting in some power outages, according to the report.

Safety tipsThe Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission offers the following safety tips during outages:

Call your utility hotline to report outages. Do not assume that the utility already knows about your outage or that others have already called.

Do not touch or approach any fallen lines.

Stay away from objects or puddles in contact with downed power lines.

Do not try to remove trees or limbs from power lines.

Use a phone that does not require electricity, such as a cellular phone or corded phone. Cordless phones won’t work without electricity.

Do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages. Those calls take dispatchers away from other emergencies and can also slow a storm response because you're not talking directly to the utility.

Special note: If you have a downed power line or another hazardous situation, call 9-1-1 and then contact your utility.

The PUC offered additional tips to help stay safe until power is restored:

Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting. Do not use candles or other potential fire hazards.

If you use a generator, do not run it inside a home or garage. Also, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator, not your home's electrical system, which could shock or injure utility crews working on nearby power lines. Additional generator tips are available here.

Turn off lights and electrical appliances (except for the refrigerator and freezer). When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment.

After you turn the lights off, turn one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.

Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional assistance.

The PUC noted that consumers using natural gas appliances can also be impacted by storms:

Electric power outages can affect gas furnaces and other appliances. If they do not function properly when power is restored call a professional for service.

If you smell natural gas, get everyone out of the building immediately. Leave the door open and do NOT use phones, switch lights or turn appliances on or off, or take any other action while inside the building. After you are safely outside, call 9-1-1 from your cell phone or neighbor’s home.

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