ShareThis Page
Thousands could remain without power in Western Pa. until Wednesday night | TribLIVE.com
Regional

Thousands could remain without power in Western Pa. until Wednesday night

Brian C. Rittmeyer
797610_web1_vnd-weatherdamage04-022519
Tribune-Review
High winds brought down an Oak tree across Garvers Ferry Road at Wildlife Lodge Road in Lower Burrell on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019.
797610_web1_vnd-windupdate02-022619
Rob Amen | Tribune-Review
A large pine tree sits toppled in a yard off Leechburg Road in Plum on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, after high winds blew through the region.
797610_web1_vnd-windupdate3-022619
Above, a downed tree blocking Overholt Drive around 5:20 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in East Huntingdon Township.

Tens of thousands of Western Pennsylvania households who lost power during Sunday’s wind storms could be waiting until Wednesday night for their electricity to be restored.

Nearly 30,000 Duquesne Light customers and more than 28,000 West Penn Power customers in the region remained dark Monday night, the utility companies reported.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, West Penn Power’s outages continued to affect about 9,600 customers in Westmoreland County, 6,300 in Washington County, 3,500 in Butler County and nearly 2,000 in Allegheny County, the utility reported.

Crews scrambled to repair damage from the previous day’s high winds that toppled miles of trees, power lines and utility poles, knocked out traffic signals at major intersections and spurred a slew of business and school closures.

Duquesne Light described the outage — which at its height affected 125,000 Duquesne Light customers in Allegheny and Beaver counties — as ranking among the top three largest service interruptions the utility has recorded in the past 20 years.

About 800 utility workers — more than half of Duquesne Light’s personnel — responded to weather-related damage, including at least 125 downed poles and more than 500 downed wires spanning about 16 miles, or roughly the distance from Downtown Pittsburgh to Pittsburgh International Airport, the utility said. Crews working 16-hour shifts had restored power to more than 92,000 customers by 4:30 p.m. Monday, the utility said.

“While the high winds have moved out of the area, debris, at-risk trees and other objects can still cause outages,” Duquesne Light said in a statement. “DLC estimates that the majority of customers will be restored by late Wednesday night. We appreciate your continued patience.”

Emergency warming centers opened across the region, including locations in Monroeville, North Versailles, Kennedy, Collier and West View and at recreation and senior centers in the city of Pittsburgh.

Wind speeds Sunday night peaked between about 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday night, National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Frazier said.

At Pittsburgh International Airport, officials logged at 8:20 p.m. a wind speed of about 61 mph — the fastest wind gust not related to a thunderstorm recorded there since 1952, the weather service said. Winds reached the same speed at Allegheny County Airport around 9:12 p.m.

The highest speed in the tri-state area of 74 mph was reported in Tucker County, West Virginia, around 10 p.m.

A wind gust reached a high of 74 mph in Tucker County, West Virginia, around 10 p.m.

Emergency dispatchers in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties did not report any significant weather-related injuries.

Residential and public property damage reports still are being collected and tallied, Frazier said.

A triangle-shaped area formed by Jeannette, Greensburg and New Stanton appeared to be have been the hardest-hit in Westmoreland.

Emergency warming centers opened across the region, including locations in Monroeville, North Versailles, Kennedy, Collier and West View and at recreation and senior centers in the city of Pittsburgh.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Allegheny Alliance Church, 250 E. Ohio Street, and city of Pittsburgh recreation centers are being used as warming shelters during daytime hours.

Emergency dispatchers in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties did not report any significant weather-related injuries early Monday. Numerous downed trees and wires were reported across all four counties.

Residential and public property damage reports still are being collected and tallied, Frazier said.

Most primary roads remained open.

But in Westmoreland County, downed trees and wires closed White Cloud Road from Melwood to Bonfire Short Cut roads in Allegheny Township until about 7 p.m. Monday, and Route 366 between Exton Lake to Beech roads in Washington Township until about 4 p.m. Monday, PennDOT officials said.

Around 9 a.m., Jefferson Hills police said that Coal Valley Road was closed between Jefferson Hospital and Route 885 because of downed power lines. The road remained open between Route 51 and the hospital.

Port Authority reported that a downed tree impacted the Blue Line Library rail line between Library Station and Washington Junction. It was cleared around 8 a.m.

In Allegheny County, Maytide Street was blocked between Brownsville Road and Route 51, and wires were down in the 1400 block of Graham Boulevard in Wilkinsburg, a 911 dispatcher reported shortly before 5 a.m.

Many school districts were operating under two-hour delays Monday morning, including Pittsburgh Public Schools. Some schools in some districts were closed because of outages. A full list of delays and closings can be found on the website of Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV.

The region will get a bit of a break with drier weather for the next day or two, Frazier said. Wednesday night through Thursday could bring some light rain and snow to the area, particularly in communities north of Interstate 80, Frazier said. Any snow accumulation isn’t likely to total more than an inch.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Regional | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.