The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 7, 2012

Storms KO power, heat

SUNBURY — A 20-degree drop in temperatures and downed power lines were the biggest results of severe thunderstorms that rolled through the Valley on Saturday evening, bringing some relief with cooler air, but leaving 5,014 PPL customers without power as of 9 p.m.

The storms developed in northwestern Pennsylvania and tracked east-southeast, said meteorologist Michael Sager with Accuweather in State College. At one point, more than 6,000 PPL customers in the Valley were without power.

Wind gusts of 40 mph were recorded at Penn Valley Airport in Selinsgrove during the storm, Sager said. Some spots saw gusts from 50 to 60 mph.

Union and Northumberland counties were hardest hit, according to PPL.

Most of the 2,031 outages in Union County were in Limestone Township, where 2,018 people were without power; the rest were scattered among Gregg, Hartley and White Deer townships.

In Northumberland County, where 1,928 customers were without power, Milton borough was hardest hit with 1,429 customers out. The city of Shamokin, Riverside borough plus Coal, Delaware, Lewis, Rush, Turbot Upper Augusta and Zerbe townships were affected.

Downed lines closed Route 61 at Hospital Road in Coal Township, prompting a small detour of traffic through Tharptown as people began arriving for Shamokin’s annual Independence Day fireworks celebration, which took place Saturday night.

Montour County had 988 customers without power, primarily in Anthony, Derry, Liberty, Mahoning and Valley townships.

Snyder County had 67 customers without power, split between Jackson and West Beaver townships.

There were nearly 20 reports of downed power lines in Union County, according to the 911 Dispatch Center there as Emergency Management Services responded to calls of fallen trees and tree limbs.

Montour County 911 also had about 20 calls for downed lines. One report came in for three lines down at once at County Line Road in Cooper Township, the dispatcher said.  

None of the 911 dispatchers for the four counties had reports of injuries or structure fires resulting from the storm. Montour County had reports of some tree tops catching fire from lightning strikes, but they were quickly brought under control, the dispatcher said.

In Snyder County, two incidents of fallen trees and wires were solved by 7 p.m.  

The plummet in temperature came after the Weather Channel reported an afternoon observed high of 101 degrees in Sunbury and Selinsgrove, and 100 degrees in Danville and Lewisburg.

Record heat gripped most of the central and eastern United States, the Weather Channel reported, with a few areas making monthly or all-time high marks.

It appeared, however, that Valley residents heeded warnings to stay indoors and take care of themselves.

There was no increase in heat stroke or heat-related illness cases at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, the nursing supervisor said.

Also, a nursing supervisor at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville could not give a number of heat-related illness patients there but said that “it’s been a very uneventful day.”

An employee at Sunbury Community Hospital declined to comment.

While the cooler temperatures were welcome, Sager said the thunderstorms brought more humidity to the region as well. However, temperatures are expected to be more seasonal today and Monday, in the low- to mid-80s.

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