Threat of Severe Weather Diminishing for Evening - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Threat of Severe Weather Diminishing for Evening

Severe storms knock power out to 40K, lightning sparks fire, sinkhole opens on major highway



    Lightning and strong winds knocked down a tree onto power lines in Greenville, Del., but residents say their biggest threat is the flooding from the Brandywine Creek. NBC10's Monique Braxton reports. (Published Thursday, June 13, 2013)

    Threats for more severe weather are waning for Philly and its closest suburbs as thousands of people recover from this morning's damaging thunderstorms.

    "The Storm Prediction Center has shifted the highest risk for severe storms well down to the south," said NBC10 Chief Meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz.

    "Things really quiet down as we go through 8:00 to 9:00 hour, says Schwartz. "We're not talking about drying out totally, there are still some showers around and there will still be showers tomorrow."

    Tomorrow's rain is not expected to be severe as today's storms.

    This morning, dark clouds gave way to downpours, hail and thousands of lightning strikes as severe weather moved through.

    In Delaware County, Pa., lightning set off a fire at Swarthmore College.

    “College faculty, students, and staff have been directed to stay clear of the area until further notice,” said Celina De Leon, a spokeswoman for the college.

    Lightning hit the Women’s Resource Center around 10 a.m. Firefighters were able to douse the flames quickly and no one was hurt. The National Weather Service reports that a home in Broomall, Delaware County was also struck by lightning.

    And in New Brighton, near Pittsburgh, state fire marshals believe a man died in a house fire that was started by lightning when he rushed back into the home to try and rescue a dog.

    Wind and rain brought down trees and power lines, cutting off electricity for more than 40,000 customers in the region and opening up a sinkhole on the Garden State Parkway in Little Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

    "A major headache for drivers in South Jersey," said NBC10's Ted Greenberg who documented damage in South Jersey.

    The Northbound lanes of the Parkway were closed for more than an hour at Exit 58, where drivers were detoured off the GSP and onto County Route 539. New Jersey State Police tweeted shortly before 1 p.m. that the road had reopened after construction workers made temporary repairs.

    In Deerfield Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey, the winds toppled nine utility poles on Morton Avenue.

    "It sounded like a tractor-trailer coming down the road," said Pat Hughes who lives nearby. "The hail hit the windows so hard it sounded like they were going to break."

    Hail reports also came in from in from the Pennsylvania suburbs -- first in Elverson, Chester County and then Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pa. between 9:15 and 9:40 this morning.

    More than 15,000 power outages were reported in New Castle County, Delaware, according to the Delmarva Power website.

    About 10,000 power outages affected PECO customers and those customers were concentrated in the suburbs. In Chester County alone, the utility was working to restore power to more than 8,000 customers, according to PECO spokesman Ben Armstrong.

    Atlantic City Electric reported more than 7,400 customers in South Jersey without power. The bulk of those outages were in Gloucester and Atlantic County.

    The morning's severe weather also caused one-hour plus departure delays at Philadelphia International Airport and longer arrival delays as flights were grounded in originating cities, according to PHL spokeswoman Victoria Lupica.

    The thunderstorms and lightning put a halt to Round 1 of the U.S. Open where spectators, workers, volunteers and players were forced to take shelter.

    “It’s kinda disappointing,” one man said sheltering his wife with an umbrella. Both had water-logged shoes. “We were only here for about 10 minutes when the horn went off. You buy your tickets a year in advance; you know you can’t really see what the weather’s gonna be. You just hope for the best.”

    Round 1 play resumed at 12:10 p.m. at the Merion Golf Club in Haverford Twp., Delaware County, Pa. 


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