Friday, June 25, 2010

Darkness on the Edge of the Pine Barrens


Severe thunderstorms pounded South Jersey with heavy rain and high winds on Thursday afternoon, causing power outages that lasted into the night.

Almost 90,000 customers in the region lacked electricity at 8 p.m., with the most extensive outages in Camden County. Power was not expected to be restored to everyone until some time today, a utility representative said.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported, but Camden County's emergency-dispatch system reported more than 1,000 calls due to the storm. Winds as strong as 60 mph took a toll on trees throughout the area, snapping branches and even trunks, according to the National Weather Service. The falling limbs snapped electrical wires, causing power failures.

In Sicklerville, one gust picked up a neighbor's trampoline and hurled it into Gerald Loschiavo's backyard pool around 3:30 p.m.

"The rain was phenomenal and the wind picked up so much," said Loschiavo, a Red Fox Trail resident. The trampoline sailed more than 20 feet in the air. "My neighbor said, ‘If you really wanted to use it, you could have asked,'" Loschiavo said.

The Weather Service reported winds of about 60 mph in Voorhees and Blackwood around 3:45 p.m. A gust around 3:50 p.m. damaged the roof of Bagelicious, a Delsea Drive restaurant in the Westville Grove section of Deptford. And in Shamong, a tree fell on a car at 4:10 p.m.

Authorities also said a motorist was pulled from a vehicle that went into a stream near High Street and Tomlin Station Road in Mullica Hill around 4:45 p.m. The man was treated for an injury, but additional details were not immediately available.

PSE&G reported 19,000 customers were without power at 8 p.m. in the utility's southern division, which includes the tri-county area. "The vast majority of them appear to be in Camden County," said utility spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

She said Camden, Voorhees and Deptford were among hard-hit areas.

"All customers may not be restored until sometime (today)," she said.

Atlantic City Electric reported about 36,000 customers lacked power in Camden County around 10 p.m. Outages at the same time affected about 9,200 customers in Gloucester County, almost 9,000 in Atlantic County and 1,600 in Burlington County.

The storm struck after high heat created an "unstable" air mass across the region, said Lee Roberts, a Weather Service meteorologist in Westampton.

Thursday's high temperature was 97 degrees at 1:50 p.m., near the record of 99 degrees set in 1923. But the thermometer fell to 79 degrees by 6 p.m.

Today's high is expected to be about 89 degrees.


Our back steps blew off & broke, that’s all; but some people in the ‘hood lost sections of fence. One neighbor’s deck furniture ended up in another’s pool.

[Jaybird's deck, not far from my house]

WTF? It snows for a day and a half => nothing; 20 minute thunderstorm => blackout

D'Wife was funny; the first thing she said when she walked in was "Well, I still have my Ruby Slippers; so fuck you Dorothy!"

All in all, not too bad … I made the best of it


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