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Thousands without electricity in Pennsylvania


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Thousands without electricity in Pennsylvania

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A coating of ice and slush took down power lines and trees, closed schools and snarled traffic in Pennsylvania yesterday, the latest insult in what has been a long winter of weather-related injury.
About 586 000 customers were without power by late last night, down from a peak of 849 000 earlier in the day, Governor Tom Corbett said in a briefing at the headquarters of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency outside Harrisburg.
Corbett said he had signed a disaster emergency proclamation, freeing up state agencies to use all available resources and personnel.
“People are going to have to have some patience at this point,” Corbett said, warning that an overnight refreeze could cause more problems on the roads today.
PECO, which was working to restore power to more than 500 000 customers, warned that it could take until the weekend for some people get their electricity back.
The storm piled up to a foot of new powder along the state’s northern tier and coated the southeastern quadrant with a layer of ice that gave trees a picturesque, frosty sheen but brought down limbs and trees from Gettysburg to Philadelphia.
Long stretches of the Pennsylvania Turnpike were under speed and trailer restrictions all morning, but those rules were lifted as the weather warmed and some melting began.
A fatal crash shut down the turnpike in both directions outside Harrisburg for more than 13 hours, and turnpike officials also warned motorists to watch for fallen trees in eastern Pennsylvania.
A crash involving a tractor-trailer and the Army women’s basketball team charter bus, which had been scheduled to play Lehigh University in Bethlehem, sent more than a dozen players to local hospitals to be checked out for what officials said were non-life-threatening injuries.
Several hospitals in the Philadelphia suburbs were running on backup power, forcing most to reschedule elective surgeries and outpatient procedures.
 

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