Wayne and Pike Counties, Pa. suffered through the initial aftermath of Hurricane Sandy this week, being brushed after the “monster storm” played havoc on the New Jersey coast and in New York City, Oct. 29-30. Leaving behind a trail of property damage and power outages, for a while at least one almost needed reminding that Election Day was almost here. Tens of thousands of people in the Pocono Northeast were dealing with no electricity, closed roads and cleaning up.
It could have been a lot worse. Steve Price, Wayne County Emergency Management Coordinator, said that no shelters were requested as of Tuesday, although one was available at Grace Episcopal Church in Honesdale. There also was no flooding. Only a little over two inches of rain fell in the region, which was quickly absorbed or ran off into streams and rivers. Emergency Operations Centers in Wayne and in Pike were both manned around the clock. Price said he was in consultation with PPL Tuesday afternoon, and was given the caution that residents may have to wait a “lengthy time” for power to be restored. PPL had an army of line crews in the region with help from seven states in place on Sunday. The magnitude of the storm, however, precluded an early finish, with trees and limbs continues to drop as others were removed from utility lines. He asked that the public be very careful running generators during the outage. Many people go and buy one due to the storm and may not be experienced. He warned that generators must be run out of doors, and not in a garage attached to the house, even if the garage doors are open. Carbon monoxide could still seep into the home, which can kill. A fire hazard is also created when someone tries to re-fuel the generator while it is still running or hot, Price said. The storm did not cause any injuries in Wayne County, Price said. An 8-year old boy in neighboring Susquehanna County was struck and killed by a falling tree limb. No homes in Wayne were damaged to the point they were not livable, Price said. More information may be found on the county web site, www.co.wayne.pa.us.
Pike County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been on full alert during the current storm event. Pike County Transportation has been on standby with vehicles to assist in the emergency for evacuations, medical needs and transport to local shelters. They were stationed at Dingman Twp. Firehouse, Delaware Twp. Municipal Bldg., Lehman Twp. Municipal Bldg., Westfall Twp. Firehouse, Blooming Grove Twp. Municipal Bldg., Blooming Grove Senior Center, Tafton Firehouse, Greeley Firehouse, Shohola Twp. Firehouse and Promised Land Firehouse. Overnight and “Refreshing” services were provided the night of October 31 at several sites.
Ice & Water
Ice and water for personal use for people who lots power is being supplied by PPL. Supplies are available at Dutch’s Market, Rt. 507 Greentown; Weis Market, Rt. 739 Lords Valley and Joe’s Kwik Mart, Rt. 6/84 (near Milford). PPL also has free ice for its customers in Wayne County at various Joe’s Kwik Marts and Weis Markets. See www.pplelectric.com for more details. Milford Water Authority was providing water at Shell Gas Station, 717 Broad St., Milford (bring your own container). Two members of the National Guard have been stationed at the Pike EOC. They arranged for 15 pallets of drinking water for Delaware Twp. Municipal Bldg. Water is available for other locations as the needs arise. Pike County is also working closely with the National Park Service, State Police and Pike Amateur Radio Group. The ham radio operators provided real-time reports of new road closures and other emergencies as conditions deteriorated. About 40 percent of road closures had been resolved as of Wednesday. Among the roads still blocked on Wednesday was Route 402 in Porter Township and Silver Lake Road. Parts of Bushkill Falls Road were shut down due to trees or wires down. More information is available at the Pike County web site, www.pikepa.org. James Reinhardt, Executive Director of the Wayne Pike Chapter, American Red Cross, stated that no Red Cross-operated shelters had been requested in Pike County. The Red Cross had a command center set up around the clock at their offices at the Hawley Silk Mill.
Immediately following a report of utility wires down in Greene Township, fire departments were called out to a residential structure fire. The blaze was at the same location, Roemerville Road and German Valley Road. Promised Land Fire & Rescue was sent out at 10:42 p.m. Monday, in the midst of the storm. The company was backed up by Greene Dreher Fire Department, an engine from Blooming Grove Fire Department, three tankers from Tafton Fire Department and a Hemlock Farms Rescue vehicle. The utility wire problem was reported less than a minute before. This was one of many calls for assistance from area fire companies, as Hurricane Sandy’s winds brought down trees, limbs and utility wires across the Pocono Northeast. Rainfall did not amount very high, with only one to two inches reported in the Wayne/Pike area. Power outages were scattered throughout the region. PPL Electric Utilities reported there were 398,269 customers out of power in 28 counties, as of 6 a.m., Tuesday October 30th.
There were offers of generosity reported in the region. The management of Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Banquet Center in Tafton issued an offer on Oct. 30 to those without power at home. “We have facilities available for showers, if you would like to come to our resort and clean up, at no charge to you,” the offer stated. “If you need overnight accommodations we are offering our rooms at 50% off our winter rates during the power outage.”