High winds down trees, disrupt power to 30,000 in Philadelphia region

A crew works to right a small airplane at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing, N.J., where strong winds damaged or flipped over a number of single-engine aircraft and tore off a section of hangar roof. Gusts topped 50 m.p.h. at the airport at the height of the storm. Story and more photos, B2.
A crew works to right a small airplane at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing, N.J., where strong winds damaged or flipped over a number of single-engine aircraft and tore off a section of hangar roof. Gusts topped 50 m.p.h. at the airport at the height of the storm. Story and more photos, B2.
Posted: November 18, 2010

Severe storms that swept through the region Tuesday night and into Wednesday toppled trees, cut off power to more than 30,000 homes and businesses, and even flipped planes at a Trenton-area airport.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Delaware River Port Authority temporarily banned empty container trucks on the Betsy Ross Bridge because of high wind.

Earlier, downed trees, utility poles, and debris blocked roads throughout the area, including Roosevelt Boulevard at Whitaker Avenue, Maple Avenue and Langhorne Yardley Road in Middletown Township, Conshohocken State Road (Route 23) in Lower Merion, and roads in Pottstown, Mount Laurel, Monroe Township, and Marlborough Township.

Slick roads and wet leaves and debris may have contributed to a host of accidents - on Route 42 north past I-295, the Vine Street Expressway, the Route 1 Media Bypass at Baltimore Pike, in the city's Port Richmond section, and in Plymouth Township, West Pikeland, and Greenwich Township.

Some traffic lights were out, including on Route 30 in Lower Merion and at the Black Horse Pike and Nicholson Road in Audubon, Camden County.

Gusts peaked between 3 and 4 a.m. Wednesday throughout the region, topping 50 m.p.h. in Northampton; London Grove; Dover, Del.; and Ewing, N.J., where small planes were flipped and a section of hangar roof was ripped away at Trenton-Mercer Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

Gusts reached 65 m.p.h. in Bear, Del.; windows were knocked out of an old factory in the Northeast; and shingles were blown off the roof at the Hampton Inn in Yardley.

As for power outages, Bucks County was hardest hit, with more than 9,000 homes and businesses in the dark Wednesday morning, according to Peco Energy Co. An additional 8,000 customers were without service throughout the area, mostly in Philadelphia and Chester Counties, according to Peco spokeswoman Karen Muldoon Geus.

By 11 a.m., power was restored to all but 5,000 customers, mostly in Bucks County. Peco officials were concerned, though, that as wind picked up Wednesday, more problems could arise, so customers were asked to report downed wires or service interruptions by calling 215-841-4141.

More than 14,000 South Jersey homes and businesses were also without power, mostly in Camden, Gloucester, and Burlington Counties. About 8,000 of them get power from PSE&G; the rest are customers of Atlantic City Electric.

At the peak, 11,000 PSE&G customers had service interruptions, spokeswoman Bonnie Sheppard said.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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