Thursday afternoon's big storm cut across Elk and nearby counties, leaving downed trees, power lines, and debris in its wake. As of press time Friday, some county residents were still without power. Many Verizon Wireless customers lost service from the time the storm hit, and service was restored around 3:15 p.m. Friday. According to Elizabeth Bacheson, a public relations representative for Verizon Wireless, a cut in a fiber optic cable impacted several cell sites in portions of Elk, Cameron and Clearfield counties, and crews had tried to locate the cut and repair it as quickly as possible. An email update from Bacheson around 4:40 p.m. Friday said the fiber had been repaired and Verizon Wireless customers should see an improvement in service at that time.
Emergency personnel, including fire departments, police, ambulance, and Elkland Search and Rescue, were called out continuously on Thursday to respond to various situations. Many of the calls that came in were for downed trees and power lines. According to the Elk County Office of Emergency Services eAlert system, firefighters were called out several times to deal with transformers or trees that caught fire when electricity was restored in some areas and the downed or damaged lines sparked. In several cases, firefighters throughout the county acted quickly to douse extinguishable fires and and monitored others until representatives from West Penn Power could arrive on the scene.
Marla Fannin, PennDOT's community relations coordinator 2 for District 2 out of Clearfield, said there were several reports of areas without power and trees and utility wires down across state-maintained roads in McKean (Route 6), Clearfield and Potter counties. Juniata and Mifflin counties were also affected, she said.
"Especially when you get downed trees like that, it's going to affect services," Fannin said, adding that no incidents of flooding were reported.
"It's a slightly mixed bag. It was mainly downed trees, debris kinds of things and downed wires," Fannin said.
Pick up a copy of the Saturday, July 28, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.