Thousands could remain without power in Western Pa. until Wednesday night | TribLIVE.com
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Brian C. Rittmeyer

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.

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