4 dead, widespread power outages after severe storms sweep through Philly region

Tim Jimenez
June 04, 2020 - 6:14 am
Storm damage on Remington Rd. off Lancaster Ave in Wynnewood

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

UPDATED: 5:11 p.m.

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The severe weather that pummeled the Philadelphia region Wednesday left at least four people dead and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the dark. 

A derecho, a string of fast-moving storms with punishing winds, was the first big blow Wednesday around noon. And more storms, including a tornado warning, struck Wednesday night.

Related: Severe storms sweep across Delaware Valley, reaches 80 mph

In Lower Merion, two people were killed when trees fell onto their cars. A staffer of the Philmont Country Club in Lower Moreland was killed when a tree slammed into a building. And in Delaware County, downed wires led to a house fire that claimed one life.

According to the National Weather Service, this is the highest number of fatalities from a derecho event in the area since 1950.

The chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, Dr. Val Arkoosh, said there were also a number of serious fires. The storm also ripped the roof off a seven-story apartment building, leaving 150 units uninhabitable.

With trees and power lines down, there are plenty of power outages. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were affected, and some are still without power.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, PECO is reporting more than 174,000 customers in the dark, including 74,000 in Montgomery County, the hardest hit.

Arkoosh said some areas may be without power for several days, and many nursing homes are using generators.

Surveying the damage in Wynnewood, trees were ripped from the ground, some roots punching through sidewalks.

More limbs and power lines sit in a heap at Remington Road and Lancaster Avenue. 

Driving through the neighborhoods, the sound of generators hummed in harmony, as many people are scrambling in the summer heat with the loss of power.

Residents are trying to keep themselves and their food cool. One grocery store already ran out of ice. It’s a big inconvenience, as many people are still working or studying from home.

Fallen trees and broken limbs littered roads throughout parts of South Jersey too. In Magnolia, a tree fell on a house just off Evesham Road. A block away, an even bigger tree fell through a fence and into a park, narrowly missing a big electrical connection point.

tree down, Magnolia, NJ
Mike Dougherty/KYW Newsradio

A front-end loader pushed huge piles of leaves and limbs out of the way to open up the neighborhood for traffic. 

In South Jersey, more than 86,000 PSE&G customers are still affected. Nearly 4,000 Atlantic City Electric customers in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties are also waiting for the lights to come back on.

That wait can be frustrating. Many customers were having trouble reporting outages on PECO’s website and were not being given estimated restoration times.

___

KYW's Mike Dougherty and The Associated Press contributed to this report.