Power Companies, Transit Agencies, Tree Cutters Scramble to Get Region Running Again After Crippling Storm

More than 24 hours after the storm, power problems persist in some neighborhoods.

What to Know

  • Utility workers and tree-removal companies spent the weekend clearing roads and restoring electricity in hundreds of communities.
  • A man was killed when a 45-foot tree crushed his car along a Montgomery County road.
  • The storm knocked out power to more than half a million customers across eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Utility workers and tree-removal companies spent Saturday clearing roads and restoring electricity in hundreds of communities across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Transit agencies also scrambled Saturday to get trains running again, particularly along the vital Northeast Corridor that connects Philadelphia with Washington D.C., New York City and Boston. By 11 a.m. Saturday, Amtrak restored modified service along the line. SEPTA also had several Regional Rail lines running and got service back on track for the Monday morning commute.

Howling winds left a path of destruction across the region Friday, felling trees onto power lines and ripping apart buildings. A wind gust of 71 mph was recorded in Cape May, New Jersey Friday afternoon.

Inland, in Washington Township, Gloucester County, 65 mph winds were recorded. Across the Delaware River, in Philadelphia, winds topped out at 62 mph. (Here's the latest snow totals and wind gust highs per neighborhood.)

The powerful winter storm stunned commuters during the afternoon rush hour, as colder-than-expected temperatures caused unexpectedly sloppy road conditions. The slippery surfaces combined with many falling trees to create gridlock seemingly everywhere for hours.

The storm is being blamed for at least one death in the region, and seven nationally. 

A 57-year-old man was killed when a 45-foot tree crashed down onto his car along S. Gulph Road near Arden Road in Upper Merion at 7 p.m. Friday, township police said. The tree crushed the windshield, dashboard and front seats.

In one of the more jarring images, a tree fell onto a SEPTA bus traveling west on Interstate 76. The westbound lanes were shut down shortly after 1 p.m. and remained at a standstill through the afternoon, state police said. Four of the 15 passengers were injured.

Twitter - @EAmori
This toppled tree trapped SEPTA passengers on the Schuylkill Expressway on March 2, 2018. See Larger

Other chaos ensued as well, including a very serious injury to a young man in Upper Darby, Delaware County. He remained hospitalized Saturday in critical condition with head trauma after a falling tree limb struck him.

In Havertown on Friday, a downed tree caused a transformer fire on the 100 block of Ellis Road. A tree also fell on the hood of a car driving by. No serious injuries were reported during the incident.

A fallen tree sparked a fire in Havertown, Pennsylvania during Friday’s storm. NBC10 obtained videos of the moment the tree fell as well as the fiery aftermath.

Branches that landed on power lines sparked fires at homes in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The heavy arms of a huge tree crashed into a child's room along Rhyle Lane in Bala Cynwyd leaving extensive damage. No one was injured in those incidents. Some drivers reported spending hours on Route 309 near Perkasie. In other spots, drivers bailed on their cars when they became stuck in the snow.

Many similar scenes across the area left first responders scrambling to keep up with calls for help.

The storm knocked out power to more than 522,000 customers across the three states. Initially, power companies said it could take as long as four days before power returned to all customers. But progress was occurring quickly, as those still in the dark had dropped to a little more than 30,000 by Monday morning.

Courtesy of Bill Barger
Cape May-Lewes Ferry, Friday, March 2, 2018.

PHOTOS: Major Storm Brings Damaging Wind, Rain and Snow to Area

Dozens of schools decided to close early or cancel after school activities on Firday and Dozens were closed Monday due to a lack of power.

At the Jersey Shore, wind gusts ripped huge wall sections off of the shuttered Trump Plaza casino along the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Concerns turned to coastal flooding late Friday as the storm coupled with a full moon brought high waters on Saturday. Moderate flooding was reported in some South Jersey communities Saturday.

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