Hundreds of thousands still without power

Posted: August 29, 2011

Utility crews are working to restore power to about 480,000 customers in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania this afternoon in the wake of Hurricane Irene while flooding subsides in most areas.

Initial damage estimates put the cost at at least $7 billion in Irene's path.

The number of deaths in the Philadelphia area rose to two as officials reported a 64-year-old East Norriton woman drowned in Whitemarsh after apparently abandoning her car along the Wissahickon Creek on Sunday.

Also nearby, a Princeton Township swift water rescuer died of injuries suffered after he got caught in the current during an attempt to reach a sunken vehicle, which later proved to be unoccupied. And two men were found dead in an inlet in Point Pleasant Beach on the north Jersey Shore.

Air travel began returning to normal and Philadelphia International Arport reported it had returned to full operations by late morning.

The Trenton railroad station was flooded after the nearby Assunpink Creek rose to record levels and overflowed its banks, sending a torrent of water flowing through residential streets to the Delaware River.

SEPTA buses, trains and trolleys are operating, but service was suspended on the Cynwyd, Paoli/Thorndale, and Trenton lines because of residual storm-related problems.

N.J. Transit rail service remains suspended until further notice, except on the Atlantic City Rail Line, and bus and light rail lines are running on a modified schedule, the agency says.

Amtrak says its trains are operating between Philadelphia and Washington but not between Philadelphia and Boston.

PECO says 225,000 of its customers are without power following what was one of the worst storms for the utility on record.

PSEG in New Jersey reported that as of noon 265,000 customers remained without power this morning while Atlantic City Electric put its number at 54,000.

Cathy Engel Menendez, a PECO spokeswoman, said utility crews earlier restored power to 300,000 customers.

She said PECO plans to get 90 percent of those still without electricity back on line by Wednesday night with the remaining 10 percent should have their power restored before the weekend.

Engel Mendez said actual numbers are still being tallied, but noted that the worst tropical cyclone for the utility was Hurricane Isabel, which left 517,343 customers without power in September 2003.

Irene was No. 2 overall to the worst event, an ice storm that knocked out electricity to 520,016 customers in January, 1994

PSEG said crews working around the clock earlier restored power to 470,000 customers statewide.

The National Weather Service says flood warnings remain in effect for the Delaware River from Tocks Island to Trenton; the Assunpink Creek in Mercer County and the North Branch of the Rancocas Creek in Pemberton.

It also has issued flood warnings for southeastern Salem County, Cumberland County, south central Camden County, southeastern Gloucester County and western Atlantic County.

A lower level coastal flooding advisory was later issued for tidal portions of the Delaware River south of Trenton.

The waters of the Schuylkill are receding and officials this morning reported that the Lincoln, Kelly, and Martin Luther King Drives hadreopened.

Most major roadways are clear, but the flooding in Trenton has closed sections of U.S. 1 and Route 29 in New Jersey's capital.

Also, eastbound lanes of Route 322 in Concorde Township, Delaware County, were closed around noon because of a fallen tree.


Contact the Online Breaking News Desk at online@phillynews.com or 215-854-2443.   

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