Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Update from County Councilman, John McBlain regarding last night's storm, assessments, notifications and clean-up

AS OF 2:10pm EST 6/24/15

OK Delco, here's your lunchtime update following last night's storm. That was certainly no typical summer thunderstorm. Delco got rocked. PECO and PEMA compare it to a severe winter ice storm because of the effect of wind on trees and power lines. At 70 mph, the airport recorded the 5th highest wind velocity on record. Of Southeastern PA, Delco seems to have been hit the hardest. There is damage in almost every one of our municipalities.
Delaware County Council spent the morning at our Emergency Services Center in Middletown. We met with representatives of PECO, PEMA, PennDot and SEPTA. We've also called the heads of local governments most affected by the storm. Here's the latest...
First, power outages. As of about noon, there were still 68,000 households in Delco without power. That's down from the peak of about 100,000 homes last night. PECO says this will be a multiple day restoration. They hope to have about 95% of households restored by midnight Friday into Saturday. That means several thousand homes will still be without power into the weekend. PECO has 200+ crews out now and are bringing in reinforcements from as far away as Ohio. They are busting their humps.
You can check on the status of restoration by going to and clicking on the STORM CENTER banner. You can also call PECO at 215-841-4141 to get restoration information.
Remember, PECO works to get the largest number of homes back online first, so if your whole neighborhood of 3000 is without power, chance are that is a priority area. If you are the only home without power in the neighborhood, chances are it may take longer to get your power back on.
Of our 49 Delco towns, there are only five that report no power outages. Chester City, Brookhaven, Aston, Chester Heights, Media, Middletown, Sharon Hill, Springfield, Swarthmore, Thornbury, Upland and Upper Providence are the towns with the largest problems.
SEPTA - service on the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line is still suspended and we have no information about when it will go back online. The Route 100 is running between 69th Street and Radnor but not farther to Norristown. Buses to the City of Chester were suspended this morning but are now back up and running. Otherwise, minor delays.
PennDot - There are some state roads with closures, most notably Baltimore Pike Route 1 in Concord from Schoolhouse to Thornton Roads. There are some other closures on Concord Road (Chester Twp.), Dutton Mill Road (Brookhaven), Pennell Road (Aston) and Cheyney Road (Thornbury).
Our hospitals and nursing homes are all good. We were able to supply some with generators and respirators in a couple of places.
Lastly, we declared a State of Emergency for all of Delaware County this morning. Most people say, so what? What does that mean? Well, mostly it is necessary for the lawyers so that certain procurement rules for local governments are waived and they can get and share equipment and supplies. It also officially activates our emergency operations plan, although most of our emergency management staff were at the 911 Center all night anyway. It is possible that municipalities could qualify for disaster aid if the state or federal government makes any available.
We have contacted PEMA and called Governor Wolf to update him on the situation in Delco.
Sorry for the long message. We'll keep you up to date on any news.

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