Hurricane knocks out power

A tree lays across Cherry Street in Montrose on Sunday afternoon, following the arrival of Hurricane Irene. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN WOODRUFF

BY STACI WILSON

Hurricane Irene winds swept through the county Sunday, Aug. 29, leaving thousands without power as of Tuesday afternoon.

Penelec spokeman Scott Surgeoner said, “We have about 4500 customers still out in Susquehanna County most of them in Montrose area with about 1100.”

Other pockets of power outages include Thompson with about 850 customers without power and Susquehanna with over 630, Surgeoner reported.

By Tuesday at about 3 p.m., Penelec reported about 1500 people in the county remained without power.

Surgeoner said, “We are hoping to have the vast majority of customers restored to power by Wednesday evening. We have crews working around the clock and they will continue to work around the clock until power is restored.”

Much of the territory serviced by Penelec’s parent company, First Energy Corp., was affected by the hurricane.

Williams Pond in Bridgewater Township swelled up on Sunday afternoon, submerging a bridge on Williams Pond Road. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN WOODRUFF

“It was a big storm and it did not discriminate,” Surgeoner said. The company is currently repairing storm damage all the way up the eastern one-third ofPennsylvania.

“We brought in 4000 additional people from westernPennsylvaniaandOhioto help with restoration efforts but damage so widespread – involving three states – it’s going to be time consuming,” Surgeoner said.

“Hopefully within next the 36 to 48 hours customers inSusuqehannaCountywill have power restored,” he said.

Emergency Management Coordinator Charlene Moser said she is also receiving updates on power restoration throughout the county.

Some of the locations with broken poles are remote and that is posing challenges for the service workers, Moser said.

The hurricane’s aftermath is also delaying the start of several area school districts.

Although slated to head back to school today (Wednesday, Aug. 31),Mountain Viewstudents may have a few more days of summer vacation.

Superintendent Andrew Chichura said the high school has been without electricity since Sunday’s storm ripped through the region.

The elementary school, which receives power from Claverack, does have electric service.

The high school electric is provided by Penelec.

The superintendent said that the district would not bring any of the students – neither high school nor elementary – until the power was restored.

As of Monday, Chichura said he had not received any indication power would be restored before the end of the week and it is not exactly known when students will return to class.

“It’s on a day-to-day basis,” said Chichura about the start of the term.

In addition to the power outage, Chichura said the district is also contending with flooding issues. Water came into the administration office and high school principal’s office.

Monday’s in-service day was cancelled, but on Monday afternoon the district planned to go ahead with Tuesday’s scheduled teacher in-service.

Other area school districts have also been impacted by Hurricane Irene.

Susquehanna Community, which started school on Aug. 24, cancelled classes on Monday but students returned to classes on Tuesday.

ElkLakeand the Susquehanna County Career andTechnologyCenterwere also both closed Monday. Students headed back to class on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

Montrose Area was to head back to school Tuesday but school was canceled.

Forest City Regional students return to school on Tuesday, Sept. 6

Blue Ridge students are not scheduled to start school until Sept. 8.