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Lehigh Valley Expecting Heavy Ice Accumulation, Possible Outages

todd-quinones-web Todd Quinones
Todd Quinones joined CBS 3 as a general assignment reporter in J...
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ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — If the Philadelphia region gets heavy ice accumulation, the power company is expecting significant power outages. By significant, officials mean about 50,000 customers could lose power in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos.

All the snow storms we’ve seen this winter simply don’t compare to the amount of damage this storm could bring to power lines, according to officials.

Eyewitness News got an inside look into PPL’s Allentown facility.

Crews will work 24/7, monitoring transmission lines and keeping track of the hardest hit spots, which are expected to be in between the I78 – I80 corridors.

“Icing is much worse than a winter snowstorm, ice more dangerous than snow,” PPL spokesperson Michael Wood said.

With a half inch of ice or more possibly accumulating on power lines and tree branches, PPL estimates perhaps as many as 50,000 customers could lose electricity.

And to make matters worse, they could be without power a lot longer than what they’re used to.

“We’re looking at a restoration that could take several hours and multiple days if we get a heavy accumulation of ice,” Wood said.

On the ground PennDOT will be using salt to try and keep roads from freezing over.

Staff is monitoring major roads in Lehigh valley and Poconos.

“For people in their morning commute, if they have to go out, they should get up extra early and be extra cautious. We say that a lot during storms, but this one could be very treacherous at times,” said PennDOT spokesperson, Ron Young.

At 8 p.m. mandatory speed restrictions on all major highways and expressways across the state were put in place.

The speed limit will be 45 mph until at least Wednesday evening.

Reported By Todd Quinones, CBS 3

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