By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Atlantic coastline, including the Jersey shore and the New York City, wasn’t the only area hit hard by Hurricane Sandy (see related yearend report).  In this report, we take a look at how Philadelphia and the suburbs weathered the superstorm.

There was, of course, historic destruction in New Jersey.  For Philadelphia and the suburbs, Sandy left thousands without power, some for more than a week (see news story).

The city (news story) and suburbs (news story) braced for the storm, prepared for the worst.   Mayor Nutter encouraged Philadelphia residents in flood-prone areas to evacuate:  “Be prepared to exercise that plan, and be prepared to move,” he said (news story).

But flooding along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers never materialized, though Sandy’s high winds did rip down tree limbs and power lines throughout the suburbs.

Ed Barber of Cheltenham heard the falling tree that cut off power to his house.

“The electricity went off kinda hard, like, boom!” he recalled.

And Terry Zegestowsky says that brought neighbors outside in a hurry.

“The noise level kinda prompted everybody to come out.  When we came out it was dark, and right away we saw that with the flashlights.  So we knew.”

The lights went out for 850,000 Peco customers — more than half of all of their customers.

Crews arrived from several states to repair the downed wires (see news story).  But it took a while.

“I haven’t had power since Monday evening, 6pm,” said one woman — on Thursday.

The Red Cross distributed dehydrated meals and bottled water.

(Woman receiving food for affected family members:) “It’s a closed box.  It says ‘MEAL’ on it. And a case of water. And I’m taking it now to deliver to them.”

(DeNardo:) “Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s appreciated.”

(Woman:) “I’m sure it is, because I don’t think they have anything.”

Nine days after Sandy struck, Peco restored electricity to the final customer who had lost power.

Read the KYW Regional Affairs Council special report, “Stormproofing the Delaware Valley.”

Watch & Listen LIVE