Thunderstorms knock out power for 150,000, kill W. Pa. woman

Posted: July 28, 2012

A series of powerful thunderstorms swept across Pennsylvania and New Jersey before nightfall Thursday, knocking out electricity for tens of thousands of homes and killing a woman in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Linda Button, 66, died when a falling tree crushed her car in Genesee Township, Potter County, as she sought refuge at a campsite.

In the Philadelphia region, gusts exceeded 60 m.p.h. as thunderstorms produced scattered downpours, thousands of lightning strikes, and three-quarter-inch hail near Nazareth, Pa., according to the National Weather Service.

A tree trapped a person in a car in Camden. Wires trapped a woman in a car in Fairmount Park. Lightning struck the steeple of St. Martin de Porres School in North Philadelphia. A tree crushed a house in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.

Around 9 p.m., about 25,000 Peco customers were without power, according to spokesmen Ben Armstrong.

But this morning's rush hour, recovery was well under way in the region, though some roads were still blocked by downed trees, wires, and branches, according to

As of shortly after daybreak, Peco's outage count down to about 1,500 for all of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Armstrong said.

In New Jersey, 10,700 PSE&G customers were without power late Thursday, but the count was just 300 for the entire 10-county service area by 6:30 a.m. Fewer than 200 Atlantic City Electric customers were in the dark this morning.

But this morning in Western Pennsylvania, where high winds tore the roof off a Butler County fire hall, about 70,000 First Energy Corp. customers were still without electricity.

A funnel cloud was even reported in northeastern Pennsylvania's Susquehanna County.

PPL Electric, which serves 29 state counties, mostly in the eastern half of the state, reported that more than 64,000 customers lost power during the storms, and about 16,000 were still effected as of 8:30 this morning.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or

This article contains material from the Associated Press.

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