More than 300,000 Pennsylvanians remain without power this morning. President Obama and Gov. Tom Corbett have declared much of the region a federal disaster area. And eye-raising comparisons are starting. Let’s face it: Wednesday’s ice storm just won’t quit us.
Hundreds of thousands are still without power because of this week’s ice storm. Many will be in the dark until Sunday night.
PECO energy officials say they have thousands working on restoring power, importing crews from as far away as Chicago, but fixing all the damage will take days.
That has people going into survival mode. After waking up on Wednesday morning, Abe Koffenberger spent three hours finding dry firewood for his West Chester home. Now he's got another problem.
"Got home and lit the fire and slept very coldly covered in sleeping bags but woke up today also no power, but had just enough firewood to heat the place in the morning," Koffenberger said. "Now we're back out on the road trying to take a shower somewhere."
President Barack Obama and Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett signed emergency declarations declaring Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Philadelphia counties disaster areas. Both moves opened up state and federal resources for aid in areas where hundreds of thousands of people remain in the dark more than a day after the storm moved out.
On Thursday, Corbett toured sections of Whitpain Township, Montgomery County – one of the areas hit hardest by downed trees and power lines that left residents and businesses in the dark.
With Obama’s disaster declaration comes the support of FEMA. Corbett said some of the first relief the agency will be providing will come in the form of generators that can be used at hospitals, nursing homes and other institutional facilities.
The governor made an interesting comparison on his storm tour. AP reports:
“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.
Ooof. Maybe in the number of people affected. But Sandy destroyed lots of property and left lots of people homeless, don't forget. The ice storm hasn't been fun, but mostly it's left people in the cold and dark for a few days ... after which they should be mostly fine. It's not quite the same thing.
Unless we get hit by a 30-inch snow this weekend. But the National Weather Service is very emphatic, despite Internet speculation, that we won't get hit by a 30-inch snow this weekend. "STILL NONSENSE," the agency says in its brief on weekend weather.
Bu there will be storm. CBS's Kate Bilo forecasts: "As of now, timing is still up in the air. I think snow could fall at any point this weekend, but it likely won’t amount to much, maybe a general 1-3” from Saturday through early Monday. I wouldn’t be surprised if an isolated area picks up a bit more than that, but the storm definitely shouldn’t be crippling in nature. A major storm right now is the last thing we need, so this is excellent news."