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Storm topples trees, cuts power to thousands in Westmoreland

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, 5:00 p.m.
A Delmont baseball field at the Shields Farm was damaged in a storm on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017,
Courtesy: WPXI-TV
A Delmont baseball field at the Shields Farm was damaged in a storm on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017,
A roof was blown off of a dugout at a baseball field in Delmont during a storm on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017.
A roof was blown off of a dugout at a baseball field in Delmont during a storm on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017.

A storm that moved through Westmoreland County on Tuesday afternoon caused widespread damage, with reports of trees toppled on roads, homes and power lines, interrupting electric service to about 5,000 residents.

According to a Westmoreland County Emergency Management dispatcher, Murrysville and Penn Township were among the hardest-hit communities in a storm that rolled through before 4 p.m. Harrison City Road in Penn Township and Pittsburgh Street in Delmont and Salem Township were among the affected areas.

Wind damage was extensive at the Delmont Area Athletic Association's four baseball and softball fields at Shields Farm. “We're looking at $30,000 worth of damage, if not more,” association President Sean Susick estimated. Two dugouts lost their roofs, and blocks in the wall of one of the dugouts were snapped in half, Susick said.

The winds also lifted shingles off other buildings, bent backstop poles, collapsed a batting cage, snapped off a utility pole with a speaker attached and moved a storage trailer about 300 feet, according to Susick.

The trailer “probably would have gone farther if it hadn't slammed into a picnic table,” he said. “We lost five or six picnic tables. A couple were completely splintered.

“We had trees down everywhere and garbage cans and debris all over the place.”

None of the association's 225 youth players were using the fields at the time because teams are on a break between summer tournaments and the fall season.

“We're supposed to start fall ball in a week, so this will dampen our season,” Susick said, adding that donations would help the group recover from the storm.

West Penn Power spokesman Todd Meyers said that by 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, more than 2,000 Westmoreland customers still were without power. That included about 830 customers in Murrysville, 602 in Delmont, 306 in Penn Township, 41 in Export and 656 in Salem Township.

The utility's website indicated some customers might not have power restored until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“We'll be working through the evening to get things cleaned up,” Meyers said. “It won't surprise me that we may have more work to do in the morning.”

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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