The flickering and popping started sometime around 7 p.m. Wednesday.
After hours of snow, wind and freezing rain, transformers throughout New Jersey’s Cherry Hill neighborhood started to give out.
“It just popped all over the place. It was like fireworks,” Cherry Hill resident Alan Blair said. “It happened so quick.”
His home lost power and the family was forced to sleep huddled beneath layers of blankets just to keep warm through the night.
Down the street, a large tree branch crashed through a neighbor’s skylight. The limb still dangled into Ron Shelling’s living room on Thursday morning, letting in cold air and spreading wood chips onto his furniture and carpet.
"I tried to clean most of it up," he told NBC10.
Even a nearby Wawa closed its doors as volunteer firefighters cleared trees.
Thousands of people throughout the region remained without power Thursday after a late March nor'easter slammed into Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and up through New England. At one point on Wednesday, more than 195,000 customers were in the dark.
Power companies scrambled to meet demand. At least 7,000 of PECO’s outages lingered from the previous nor'easter, which hit our area less than one week ago.
In hard-hit Bucks County, the American Red Cross set up a shelter for people left in the dark at the Middletown Municipal Building in Langhorne.
“I think it’s very likely we’ll be here through the end of the week and then it really just depends on what happens with the weather,” Peter Brown from the American Red Cross said.
Some families weren’t taking any chances. NBC10 reporter Deanna Durante spoke with residents who were packing up the essentials and heading to a hotel.
For residents still living in the dark, NBC10 has some tips on what to do with perishable food:
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep the items inside cold.
- The fridge will keep items cold for about four hours.
- A full freezer will remain cold for about 48 hours.
- If you are in a pinch, always know the closest supplier of dry or block ice. Dry ice can help save your food, keeping a full freezer cold for up to 48 hours.
- You can always use those coolers you have on hand (or go buy some) where you can keep tightly packed food.
- Check each food item independently for unusual odor, color or texture. If anything seems odd, or the food feels warm, throw it away. NEVER taste food to see if it’s safe.
- Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees or below. If any frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs were exposed to 40 degrees of higher for two hours or more toss it.
And remember: When in doubt, throw it out.