By Syma Chowdhry and Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Out with the old, in with the new.
Unfortunately, that’s in reference to snow storms here.
Crews throughout our area are cleaning up the mess Monday’s storm left behind as they prepare for the next system heading our way.
PennDOT dispatched salt trucks ahead of Wednesday’s expected wintry weather.
“Busier or secondary roads, be prepared to be detoured at times tomorrow — not just for tree limbs or tree branches, trees coming down, but also possibly for power lines,” says PennDOT’s Ron Young.
“As soon as the meteorologists say there is going to be heavy snow, that’s when we know that we have to get everybody on call and get ready for a storm like we had last night. Tonight, there might even be a storm of greater magnitude,” says Lou Giroud, owner of Giroud Tree & Lawn.
Companies like Giroud Tree & Lawn have been busy removing downed trees, including one in Lower Moreland Township.
“Most of the time when we have damage, it’s where maintenance was not done to begin with,” Giroud says.
Homeowner Dorothy Brown says she knew she had two unhealthy trees in her yard but had planned to wait until spring to remove them.
“The storm did one, and we will probably get these people to do the other,” Brown says.
“Tree-trimming is something we do constantly in an effort to keep the lights on for customers. Because we know that trees and other vegetation are the number one cause of outages,” explains Cathy Engel Menendez, PECO’s spokesperson.
Menendez says Monday’s storm left some customers in the dark for a bit, but power has been restored.
Now, PECO is on standby for the next round of winter weather.
“We already have an accumulation of heavy wet snow on tree branches and power lines, so the addition of ice to that could certainly cause some localized problems,” Menendez says.
And according to Menendez, if your neighborhood loses power and you see downed lines, you should still assume they’re energized.
Areas to the north and west of Philadelphia are expected to bear the brunt of this latest winter storm.
From Quakertown to Allentown, snow is piled high, many barely recovering from Monday’s blast before preparing for round two.
“That is a concern during storms like winter storms where we have tree-related outages and so having more snow and possibly ice on top of that increases the risk of those outages,” Joe Nixon of PPL Electric Utilities aid.
Power companies and cleanup crews had their work cut out for them.
In Allentown, roads are still snow covered and slick. Snow inches high on branches and power lines which could be a recipe for disaster for PPL’s 1.4 million customers. They will be monitoring Upper Bucks and the Lehigh Valley very closely.
“We have facilities scattered throughout that territory. If we need to shift them to other territories where there may be more jobs to do, then we can certainly do that,” Nixon said.
With PennDOT’s 80,000 ton supply of salt dwindling, they’re no longer loaning loads to municipalities that have run low, saving their stores for what still maybe headed this way.
“We have 340 trucks out there right away. It is going to be a spreading operation with a continuous salting so we’re making sure that things are going to be moving and passable during the morning rush hour,” Nick Martino of PennDOT said.
Everyone is advised to keep emergency kits handy especially during the morning hours Wednesday in case power does go out with extra batteries, flashlights and blankets.
For more information:
Representatives are available 24-hours a day to handle your emergency request.
Customer Service: 1-800-494-4000
Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist with your customer service needs. Please provide your 10 digit account number when calling.
Steps to Take in an Outage
Report emergencies immediately, including downed power lines, by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775). When prompted, press 1 for “electrical emergency”.
Check to see if your neighbors have lights, and check your breakers and fuses.
Report outages online or or by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775). Calls from customers help us determine the scope of outages and better direct crews to where the problems exist.