cloudy
Tuesday February 9th, 2016 8:51AM

Thousands still in the dark because of ice storm

By The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Utility crews in Pennsylvania are still trying to restore power to more than 320,000 customers who remain without power two days after an ice storm downed trees and power lines.

More than 286,000 customers were out Friday morning in the five-county Philadelphia area. Many schools closed for a third straight day.

Utilities say more than 30,000 customers were also without power in York County in central Pennsylvania. In Maryland, service was been restored to all but about 30,000 homes and businesses.

Officials have said they hope to have most of them back online by the end of the day Friday, but in some cases it may take much of the weekend.

Amtrak, meanwhile, says full service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg is being restored today after tracks have been cleared of fallen trees and debris.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Utility crews aren't getting much relief from the weather as they work to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands of people in Pennsylvania and Maryland, two days after an ice storm downed power lines and trees.

Forecasters said the cold weather gripping the mid-Atlantic on Friday should remain in place through the weekend, and snow was possible.

Utility companies reported more than 325,000 customers without power in Pennsylvania, along with about 50,000 in Maryland. Officials have said they hope to have most of them back online by the end of the day Friday, but in some cases it may take much of the weekend.

PECO, the dominant electricity provider in the Philadelphia area, reports more than 288,000 customers out Friday morning in the five-county area. First Energy has about 27,550, almost all west of the city in York County, where there are also almost 4,000 PECO customers without power. And PPL reports 5,728 outages, most of them in Lancaster County, also west of Philadelphia.

Amtrak, meanwhile, says full service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg is being restored today after tracks have been cleared of fallen trees and debris, but riders may see delays of up to one-half hour.

Crews from as far away as Canada and Arkansas have been called in to help out, and officials are comparing the scope of the damage to a hurricane. Some who might not get power back for several days sought warmth - or at least somewhere to recharge their batteries - in shopping malls, public libraries and hastily established shelters.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said after an aerial survey of the storm's aftermath on Thursday that crews put a priority on restoring electricity to hospitals, nursing homes, communications facilities and sewer plants.

"This storm is in some respects as bad or maybe even worse than Hurricane Sandy," he said during an appearance in the Philadelphia suburbs. He said a shipment of electrical generators from the federal government was on its way to Pennsylvania.

He said he was urging electric utilities "to move as fast as they can, but they have to do it within the parameters of safety."

About 200 people took advantage of seven shelters in three suburban Philadelphia counties, according to the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Shelters also were open in central Pennsylvania.

The Northeast's second winter storm of the week dumped more than a foot of snow in some places on Wednesday, forcing schools, businesses and government offices to close, snarling air travel and sending cars and trucks sliding on slippery roads and highways. It also left a thick coating of ice on trees and power lines.

"Many of them already had a coating of snow on them," said Mark Durbin, a spokesman for the utility FirstEnergy. "It's that weight that crushes our equipment. Multiply that by hundreds of locations."

Corbett said utility companies were ramping up to have about 5,000 people working to reconnect customers.

Thursday saw the lower 48 states record what is likely to be their lowest average temperature of the season, just 11 degrees.

Forecasters said it would remain chilly through the weekend in the mid-Atlantic, with daytime highs around freezing and overnight lows in the teens. Light snow was expected over the weekend.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 10 hours ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 3 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 6 days ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )
America, its politics in flux as voting begins
On the eve of the first contest on the 2016 presidential election calendar, some voters are pushing for bolder, more uncompromising action, with an intensity that has shaken both the Republican and Democratic establishments.
By The Associated Press
9:00PM ( 1 week ago )