Storm damage cleanup ongoing
Cleanup of damage left in the wake of Tuesday’s wind, lightening and rain storm continued Thursday in Franklin County.
Tuesday started like most other days this month. It was definitely going to be another hot one, but there was promise of rain later in the day.
With drought-like conditions across the county, that sounded like good news. Lurgan Township had already imposed a burn ban. Waynesboro Fire Department was asking residents to use caution if they decided to do any burning and have a water source available.
An afternoon rain would be welcome. Then the call for rain turned into a severe weather advisory.
The rain came, but for thousands of Franklin County residents, the strong straight-line windsthat came with it were not so welcome.
Straight-line winds are damaging winds that travel across an area in a uniform direction. Such winds can be so destructive they are often mistaken for tornadoes.
How it happened
The storm moved into Franklin County late Tuesday afternoon.
By the time it was over, West Penn Power reported 1,000 customers without power. The storm had cut a swath from the Waynesboro-Greencastle-Antrim area in southern Franklin to Scotland and beyond on the north.
All along the path, winds uprooted trees and downed power lines. Lightening struck a house in Chambersburg, starting a fire in the attic. It hit a shed in another part of town, starting another fire.
The house fire at 955 Spring Lane caused moderate damage to the home’s second floor and attic. The shed fire was at 540 Elder Street, borough officials said.
Both fires were quickly brought under control with no injuries and moderate property damage.
A tree fell on North Franklin Street. PennDOT cleaned that up since the road is a state highway.
The heaviest damage was outside the borough, however, where trees snapped like kindling, or in many cases were totally uprooted by the straight-line winds.
Lights went out, by the thousands
As it moved across the county, lights went out. Many didn’t come back on until Thursday.
Hardest hit appeared to be Guilford and Greene Townships just to the east of Chambersburg. When the storm moved out, traffic lights along Lincoln Way East from the borough limits to Fayetteville were out. They stayed out throughout the evening.
Roofs blew off buildings. Sheds and outbuildings were flattened.
”We had vast power outages, and lots of calls,” said Franklin County Emergency Management’s Jake Crider. “It was a powerful storm.”
Chambersburg, which runs its own electric system and gas generation capability, did not have any power outages.
“We had no interruption in electricity inside the Borough system,” Manager Jeffrey Stonehill said.
Storm cleanup continues
Emergency Management crews were out early Tuesday assessing damage from the storm. So were PennDOT and township road crews, clearing debris off the roadways.
Insurance companies were swamped with calls from policyholders who had damage to property, homes and vehicles. Landscapers and tree removal firms were doing a booming business removing trees and branches.
West Penn crews worked through Tuesday night and all day Wednesday restoring power to affected areas.
A similar storm Wednesday afternoon was not as powerful, and didn’t add much to the damage.
Storm damage cleanup continued through the day Thursday. Its effects will be felt for at least a few more days as cleanup of the massive number of damaged and downed trees continues.