Photos: Plymouth, Whitemarsh, Conshocken Begin Sandy Recovery
Current power outage, road closure, and municipal information as of Tuesday afternoon.
Although Southeastern Pennsylvania may have been spared from the worst of Hurricane Sandy, it became apparent Tuesday that it could take days or even weeks to recover from the damage that was inflicted.
Whitemarsh Township was hit particularly hard, as downed trees around the township have cut electricity to many. The number of reported outages has actually increased by Tuesday afternoon, rising above 3,500 customers, meaning that at least half of the township was still without power. PECO spokeswoman Liz Williamson said it could take a while to get the lights back on.
“It was primarily high winds and tree damage that impacted our equipment,” Williamson said. “It may take a week to completely restore power to all of our customers.”
PECO said that approximately 145,000 people were without power in Montgomery County, down just 30,000 from Tuesday's morning's estimate of 175,0000. The utility's outage map showed that between 1,500 and 3,500 Plymouth residents and 50 to 500 Conshohocken residents were without power, numbers unchanged from Tuesday morning.
In Whitemarsh, a downed tree appeared to have ripped a utility pole from the ground on Manor Road, closing that roadway, and another downed tree closed Barren Hill Road as far east as Harts Lane. Additional road closures, accurate as of 6:30 p.m., are listed at the bottom of this article.
Plymouth also received significant outages, although the only road closures that remained as of 3 p.m. Tuesday were Johnson Road between Plymouth and Whites Roads and Conshohocken Road between Academy Drive and Station Avenue.
Conshohocken seemed to have emerged nearly untouched, with the only road closure reported as the 400 block of 11th Avenue due to a downed tree. Borough council president Paul McConnell said that the Schuylkill River was expected to enter a minimal flood stage by late Tuesday evening, although he did not anticipate that the river would flood any parts of the borough.
Despite the downed tree and power outages, there was at least one bright spot Tuesday, as the Plymouth Meeting Whole Foods opened its cafe to the public for free food and charging stations. Starting at about 10 a.m., the store offered pastries, coffee, tea, WiFi and electric power strips for residents who had been left in the dark.
"We kept hearing on Facebook about how so many people had lost power, so we thought we would open our doors for a few hours," said store marketing director Amy Chidichimo. "We've had hundreds of people come through, and we've probably brewed about 40 pots of coffee in the first three hours."
Charlotte, an Ambler resident who brought her family to Whole Foods after her daughter noticed the event on Facebook, said their house had lost power at about 8 p.m. Tuesday after a transformer blew.
"We were prepared though, with lanterns, candles, water and even filled the bathtub," Charlotte said. "All I know is if they don't get power to the pumping station in two or three days, it could get ugly."
Asked if PECO had given her a timeframe for the return of power, she said she hadn't bothered to ask.
"We don't want to bother them, I'm sure they are doing their jobs to the best of their ability and I honor them for being out there doing this," Charlotte said.
Conshohocken government offices were reopened Tuesday, and the borough announced on its webpage that the Public Works department would be conducting standard yard waste collection on Wednesday. According to the notice, tree branches should be bundled together and should not exceed 50 pounds in weight or five feet in length.
Plymouth Township manager Karen Weiss said the township will be collecting regular yard waste Wednesday, and will update residents on the schedule for a chipper for long branches.
Whitemarsh and Plymouth township offices remained close Tuesday, and both municipalities suspended trash and recycling pickup until Wednesday
Whitemarsh is asking residents to move trick-or-treating to Friday night, in order to give more time to families who lost power. A Conshohocken Borough employee and council president Paul McConnell told Patch that there were no plans to move trick-or-treating in that community. Plymouth Township manager Karen Weiss said the same was true of her community. The Greater Plymouth Community Center will also remain closed until further notice due to a power outage, township officials said.
Whitemarsh road closures:
- Barren Hill Road between Harts Lane and Scarlet Oak Drive (downed tree)
- Butler Pike between Spring Mill Road and Blue Ridge Road (downed tree)
- Harts Lane between Barren Hill Road and Harts Road (downed tree)
- Manor Road between Ridge Pike and Dawnwood Lane
- Militia Hill Road between Joshua Road and Stenton Avenue (downed tree)
- Sheaff Lane between Morris Road and Skippack Pike (downed wires)
- Thomas Road between Kottler Drive and Presidential Drive (downed tree)
- REOPENED: Germantown Pike near Church Road.