Tens of thousands still without power in Philly region

Streets department worker James Ockimey clears a downed tree during the storm Friday in Marple Township, Delaware County.  The nor'easter pounded the Atlantic coast with hurricane-force winds and sideways rain and snow, flooding streets, grounding flights, stopping trains and leaving 1.6 million customers without power from North Carolina to Maine. Tens of thousands of homes in the Philadelphia region were still without power Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Streets department worker James Ockimey clears a downed tree during the storm Friday in Marple Township, Delaware County. The nor'easter pounded the Atlantic coast with hurricane-force winds and sideways rain and snow, flooding streets, grounding flights, stopping trains and leaving 1.6 million customers without power from North Carolina to Maine. Tens of thousands of homes in the Philadelphia region were still without power Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Updated: 9:00 p.m.

Tens of thousands of people were still without power in the Philadelphia region Sunday evening, two days after a powerful nor’easter brought high winds that toppled trees onto homes, roadways, rail and power lines.

PECO reported 95,899 customers had no power in the five-county Philadelphia area as of 5:20 p.m. Sunday. That includes 41,214 people or about 17 percent of customers in Delaware County where local officials declared a disaster emergency Saturday. Some of those officials toured the hardest-hit areas Sunday afternoon, including John McBlain, Chairman of the Delaware County Council, who said many residents will not likely get their power back on until midnight Wednesday or Thursday.

County officials received permission from the Pennsylvania state government Sunday to amend a current disaster declaration pertaining to the opioid crisis to include damage from Friday’s storm. The county has asked for state police and national guard troops to help direct traffic at intersections that still don’t have power in anticipation of rush hour Monday morning.

“We still have a significant number of traffic control stations that are not operating,” said McBlain. “Almost every municipality has a state highway that has outages.”

Local officials said there have been several accidents resulting from those outages, but as of Sunday evening, no fatalities or serious injuries have been reported.

A fallen tree blocks Martin’s Run Road in Media, Pa. (Shai Ben-Yaacov/WHYY)

Delaware County officials are also working to get power to several locations serving vulnerable populations, such as assisted living facilities. Most of them have generators, but emergency management director Tim Boyce said they have limited capacity and have been running for days.

“The worst case scenario that we could possibly face is we need to start moving people out of these facilities, so everything we can do to prevent that is really the mode we’re in right now,” he said.

In Montgomery County, 33,428 people are still without electricity, as well as 10,447 in Bucks County and 6,421 in Chester County. In Philadelphia, PECO is working to restore service for 3,202 customers.

PECO says it concentrates on high-power transmission lines and substations, then critical health and safety facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations, and then areas that will restore power to as many customers as possible. According to the company, the vast majority of outages should be addressed by late Monday, although some not until mid-week.

“We understand the natural frustration that comes along with these storm-related service interruptions,” said Mike Innocenzo, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for PECO in a statement. “Rest assured, we have marshalled every resource available and will be working 24/7 until power is safely restored for our customers.”

In Delaware, Delmarva Power reported about 1,999 customers have no electricity, including 1,680 in New Castle County. In New Jersey, PSE&G and Atlantic City Electric are working to restore service for 1,843 and 3,305 customers, respectively.

On Sunday, SEPTA had restored service to all but two of its regional rail lines, which are running with delays. The agency expects service to resume on the West Trenton and Chestnut Hill East Lines by the Monday morning rush hour, but riders should continue to see delays.

SEPTA ran shuttle buses in place of trolleys on routes 101 and 102. Shuttle buses were also running in place of the Norristown High Speed Line trains that run to and from 69th Street Transportation Center in Philadelphia, which is expected to resume service Monday morning with delays.

New Jersey Transit’s Atlantic City Rail Line, which had been suspended due to signal problems, is back up and running in both directions.

As of Sunday morning, Amtrak had mostly restored service along the Northeast Corridor line, with all trains leaving New York City and Washington, D.C. expected to run as scheduled. Keystone Service to and from Harrisburg is running on a normal schedule.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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