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Powerful storm leaves minor damage behind

From the Courier Post

There was no time to count Mississippis during a thunderstorm that wreaked havoc on South Jersey Tuesday morning.

 Power outages, downed trees and instant flooding plagued the area as the isolated storm quickly passed through. 

“It sounded like thunder on top of thunder,” said Amanda DiCostanzo, 29, of Westmont. “The rain was coming in sideways, so that’s when I closed the windows and stepped out front to see the tree down.”

DiCostanzo and her neighbor, Bob Schmidt, 47, were shocked to see not only one large tree rip up the sidewalk in front of their houses, but two more trees fall in their backyards, causing damage to both roofs.

“It was wild,” said Schmidt, a retired police officer. “It was like a big wall of water and wind that came through.”

PSE&G crews and tree service workers were working feverishly to clear trees from houses and restore electricity in the tri-county area. About 1,000 PSE&G customers in Camden County and 350 in Burlington County were without power Tuesday, according to PSE&G officials. Schmidt and his neighbors on Memorial Avenue were told they had to wait at least 24 hours before they can turn the lights and air conditioning back on.

“I’ll have to watch the Phillies game out somewhere tonight,” DiCostanzo said. “I’m just glad nobody got hurt.”

Flooding became a major problem as rain rapidly saturated the region.

“We did have a right lane closed on Route 42 northbound for flooding between Gloucester and Washington townships this morning but not for too long, about a half hour or so,” said Tim Greeley, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. “There were some backups due to the location, but we were able to reopen the lane in a timely manner.”

In Collingswood, a power outage kept the lights out at the intersection of Haddon and Collings avenues.

“We were chasing downed trees and flooding,” said Chief Thomas Garrity Jr. of the Collingswood Police Department. “We lost power for over an hour, but there was nothing major. We did have a lightning strike on a house on West Browning Road that the fire department checked out, but nobody was hurt.”

Another storm system was taunting the area by late afternoon Tuesday with the threat of bringing another major thunderstorm.

Today, there is a slight chance of scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms, said Valerie Meola, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Westampton.

“It clears out for Wednesday with some showers Wednesday night into Thursday,” she said. “There’s a chance of showers or thunderstorms the rest of the week, but the weekend looks clear.”

Haddon Township seemed to take the brunt of the storm as police responded to numerous reports of trees that had fallen down or into houses and electrical lines that caused power outages.

“We had an elevator rescue at Wachovia Bank because the power was cut down in the area for safety,” said Chief Mark Cavallo of the Haddon Township Police Department. “We also had stranded cars and flooded roadways.”

An arcing, fiery power line detoured traffic along Kings Highway in Haddonfield.

Schools were closed early due to flooding and power outages in Haddon Township and Camden. Students received cold lunches and were dismissed by 1 p.m.

“We had sewer line back ups because of flooding,” said Bart Leff, spokesman for Camden schools. “We should be on a regular schedule tomorrow.”

There was no major damage reported in Gloucester County, according to officials.

“We had some flooding throughout the county, but it drained away,” said Ken Shuttleworth, spokesman for Camden County. “Our 911 dispatch fielded over 500 calls during a 65-minute period, mainly related to the weather. The volume of calls was high, but they handled them.”

Burlington County reported only minor damage, including fallen tree branches and a few electrical wires.

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One Response

  1. it looked bad i the fire trucks were going every where back and forth i even saw the fire co’s pickup truck with the boat attached to it the storm look like it ran them every where

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