County Declares Disaster Emergency
Delaware County Council declares a disaster emergency; activates Emergency Operations to respond to sudden, severe storm
Tuesday evening’s thunder storm didn’t have a name, but it packed a wallop as severe as some hurricanes and ice storms that have downed trees and power lines in Delaware County.
Delaware County Council Chairman Mario J. Civera Jr. issued a Declaration of Disaster Emergency for Delaware County in response to the severe storm that slammed the area Tuesday, leaving more than 100,000 customers without electricity, littering highways with trees and power lines, and making many roads impassable.
The fast-moving summer storm did extensive damage with straight line winds, 70-mph gusts and torrential rain. Motorists were frustrated by inoperable traffic lights and closed roadways.
County Council and the Department of Emergency Services conveyed the Declaration of Disaster to all 49 municipalities and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).
“The declaration allows county government to waive procurement procedures and helps us assist municipalities in responding to the damage,” Chairman Civera said at a press conference at the Emergency Operations Center in Middletown, one of the townships hardest hit by the summer storm.
County Council was joined by members of the County’s Incident Command System and representatives from PEMA, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and PECO at a situational briefing at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Chairman Civera contacted the leaders of those municipalities that were hardest hit, including Aston, Brookhaven, Chester, Concord, Middletown and Springfield. He also contact Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office.
“Delaware County government stands ready to assist our municipalities, our emergency responders and our residents in the aftermath of this dangerous storm,” Chairman Civera said. “We don’t typically have a storm of this magnitude in June. Emergency officials compared it to a severe ice storm and we were told that the winds clocked at the airport topped 70 miles per hour, which is the fifth most powerful winds recorded in the region.
Councilman John McBlain provided an update from PECO indicating that 71,900 people were still without power at noon Wednesday. PECO officials said they hoped to have power restored to 90 percent of their customers by Friday evening.
“We caution people to stay away from downed trees and power lines,” McBlain said. “All outages should be reported to PECO by calling the customer service line at 215-841-4141 or visiting the PECO website at www.PECO.com.