First Alert

Thousands Still Without Power in NJ, Pa.; Even More Storms Expected

More storms are expected as cleanup from earlier storms continue Friday.

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What to Know

  • The entire Philadelphia region has been dealing with rounds of storms.
  • A rare type of storm called a derecho barreled across Pennsylvania and New Jersey Wednesday, leaving 400,000 customers without power initially and killing three people.
  • New storms moved in late Thursday night as property owners and power companies deal with hundreds of downed trees and other storm damage.

More than 100,000 homes and businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey were without power Friday morning after more storms moved through the region.

Thursday night's into Friday's round of thunderstorms wasn't as devastating or unique as the system that sped through at 90 mph on Wednesday. Three people in Montgomery County died in those storms.

Storms with heavy rain, frequent lightning and some isolated, damaging winds moved into Berks County, Chester County and parts of Delaware around 10:30 p.m. Thursday. It then moved into Philadelphia, the surrounding suburbs, the Lehigh Valley and parts of South Jersey between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

The system left the area around early Friday.

Not only did a tornado warning come through Wednesday evening, but it was preceded by a rare meteorological system known as a derecho. Heavy rain accompanied the high winds, and led to flooding in parts of the region, including I-76 near the Montgomery Avenue exit in Philadelphia.

In Norristown, Elmwood Park Zoo suffered damage to buildings from downed trees, staff said, but all of the animals were safe.

"While our employees and animals are safe, we are sorry to say that a number of buildings and structures suffered substantial damage from fallen trees," the park said in an email. "As always, our amazingly resilient staff worked quickly to clear debris and ensure the safety of our animals."

Power Outages

The National Weather Service recorded 185 storm reports during and immediately after the storm. More than 400,000 power customers were immediately left without electricity in the Lehigh Valley, South Jersey and around Philadelphia.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, there were nearly 35,000 power outages in Montgomery County, more than 25,000 in Chester County, nearly 15,000 in Camden County, Nearly 17,000 in Burlington County and nearly 9,000 in Philadelphia. Thousands of outages were also in Bucks, Delaware and Gloucester counties.

Residents and power crews from the Philadelphia suburbs to South Jersey will cleaning up Thursday morning after powerful storms downed trees and wires and damaged properties and cars. NBC10's Pamela Osborne reports from Collingswood, New Jersey.

More Storms on the Way

A First Alert for strong storms that could bring flash flooding, lightning and damaging winds goes into effect from 3 p.m. Friday to midnight. The First Alert covers the entire Philadelphia region except the coastline.

Be sure to charge up your device as more power outages could occur.

What's a Derecho?

A derecho is a line of severe thunderstorms that travels a single direction and which has a bowing line at its front. The weather phenomena has wind gusts of 58 mph or higher typically causing straight-line wind damage. The storm was traveling at some 90 mph as it blew through the region.

Time-lapse video shows a rare derecho tear through Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Derechos are considered rare in our part of the country. The last time a derecho happened in our area was in 2012. That storm left a line of damage from the Jersey Shore to Washington, D.C.

Three Die in Montgomery County

Tropical storm force winds toppled trees onto roadways and ripped roofs off of homes around noon. A peak wind gust of 83 mph was clocked in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Another gust of 73 mph was recorded in Philadelphia's Homlesburg section.

Those winds felled trees in neighborhoods across the region. In Montgomery County, falling trees led to the deaths of three people, county officials said.

A staff member at the Philmont Country Club in Lower Moreland died when a tree crashed through the roof of a building at the facility. Two people died in separate incidents when trees fell onto their cars in Lower Merion.

Jean Biegalski, 49, of Philadelphia, was driving a Chevrolet Equinox eastbound on Belmont Avenue near Rockhill Road around 12:45 p.m. when a large tree fell and struck the roof of the vehicle. Biegalski was pronounced dead at the scene.

The third victim was driving along Medford Road when a tree fell on the vehicle.

Roads Blocked

Give yourself extra time to get where you need to go Thursday morning as roads remains blocked by downed wires and trees.

Wednesday's quick-moving storm whipped up winds that shook trees and knocked over outdoor furniture in Philadelphia. In the Andorra section of the city, rescue personnel were onsite after someone became trapped when a large tree fell onto a car near the intersection of Ridge and Manatawna avenues.

A falling branch also took down a power line and sparked a small fire next to parked cars in the Spruce Hill neighborhood.  Another fallen power line sparked a blaze near the intersection of Bryn Mawr and Highland avenues in Bala Cynwyd. 

Drivers on Buck Road, just east of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, were greeted to a strange sight when the wind lifted a trampoline off the ground and left it strewn on top of power lines.

Drivers on Route 100 in Pottstown were dealt a road hazard when a tree there toppled onto the far right lane of the highway. A similar scene played out on the New Jersey turnpike north of Route 168.

Several crashes were reported on local highways like Interstates 76 and 95.

Some protesters participating in demonstrations at Philadelphia's City Hall braved the rain for some time as the storm moved in. NBC10's Stephania Jimenez said the protesters were undeterred by the storm.

Stay with the NBC10 First Alert Weather Team for the latest weather updates.

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