Post-Irene; High ground has its advantages

Germantown, Chestnut Hill, and Mt. Airy survived relatively unscathed from this weekend’s “Hurricane.”  Little damage was visible during a mid-day drive (Sunday) around the streets of Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill, apart from the occasional downed tree or branch in the street. For residents in East Falls and Mayanunk it was a different story

At 4:15 p.m., PECO spokesperson Karen Geus said that 14,400 Philadelphians were without power, some of a total of 275,000 without power throughout PECO’s service area. That number has been steadily rising throughout the day despite the efforts of PECO workers battling damage to power lines. “This [275,000] is our height, ” said Geus. “We have been able to restore 145,000 during the day but this is the single largest number of outages.” The reason, she said, was the combination of continuing gusty winds and saturated ground that was causing trees and limbs to fall and knock down power lines, which she said was expected to continue throughout the afternoon.

Geus was unable to give the number of power outages that had occurred in the Northwest so far.

Monday morning’s commute to Center City may also be a problem. While the elevation of Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill prevented widespread flooding here, the estimated six inches or more of rain that fell here had to go somewhere – in this case down the hill into Wissahickon Creek which was far over its banks by mid-afternoon, forcing the closure of Lincoln Drive.

No information was available as to how long the closure would be in effect, as calls to the city’s Police Department, Streets Department and Mayor’s office were not returned. According to the city’s 311 information service, Kelly and Martin Luther King drives along the Schuylkill River were also closed until further notice, with the river expected to crest at 15 feet above normal on Sunday, four feet above flood stage.

The 14th Police District had no information as to how long the Drive would be closed. There were no major hurricane-related incidents overnight in the district, according to the desk sergeant.

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