PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) — Thousands of utility customers remain without power across western Pennsylvania today as high winds continue to roar through the state, knocking down trees and taking out power lines.READ MORE: 'Sounded Like A Freight Train': Washington County Residents Say Storm Lasted Just Minutes, But Cleanup Will Go On For Days
About 144,200 customers were without power in Pennsylvania early Monday. But most of the affected customers were expected to have their service restored by Monday night at the latest.
Wind advisories and warnings were issued for Sunday into Monday morning as winds began whipping and temperatures plummeted.
The National Weather Service notes that the ground, saturated from previous rain and snow melt, caused trees and power lines to be more susceptible to strong winds.
Wind headlines have been allowed to expire even more locations across western PA. The mountains of WV and MD into the Laurels have been extended until 10am. pic.twitter.com/6xpCOYUISV
— NWS Pittsburgh (@NWSPittsburgh) February 25, 2019
The winds brought down trees and power lines across the area.
The Pittsburgh Public Works Department said a huge tree toppled over at Alder and Spahr Streets in Shadyside.
High winds can topple large trees. Here’s a fallen tree at Alder and Spahr in #Pittsburgh’s Shadyside.
— Pittsburgh Public Works (@PGHDPW) February 24, 2019
Early Monday, a downed tree shut down the Port Authority’s Blue Line Library T service in both directions. Shuttle buses were being used until the tree was finally cleared around 7 a.m.
The tree was cleared at 7:00 am. All rail cars are back to normal operation. Thank you for your patience.
— Port Authority PGH (@PGHtransit) February 25, 2019
On Sprucewood Drive in Ross Township, large pine trees that toppled during the strong winds caused a power outage.
“About 9:30 last night, I heard a boom,” said Greg Novak. “Got shaken out of the sofa there, went outside, found a big pine tree laying across the wires.”
The downed wires meant Novak and several of his neighbors would be in the dark throughout the night.
“I was more ticked off than scared,” Novak told KDKA’s Lisa Washington. “The winds talking to you all day long, you could tell something was going to happen.”
The strong winds also tore tents, brought down flags and scattered possessions from one neighbor’s yard to the next.READ MORE: Free Dental Clinic Expects Large Turnout At David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Sarah Haddad, also from Ross Township, said, “People’s rooftops, like pieces, were flying into our yards. It was pretty crazy.”
Duquesne Light crews restored power to more than 65,000 customers before daylight Monday, but say they have to work carefully to continue power restoration efforts. In the meantime, those in the dark wait patiently.
“It wasn’t so cold when the power went out,” said Novak, “but it’s seeping into the house now.”
He added, “I’m hoping all the hotels aren’t filled up, cause I got the family, we can’t stay here without the heat.”
A tree fell across Perry Highway, too. It blocked Perrymont Road and Sandle Avenue.
It also caused traffic lights to malfunction at many intersections, including on Route 51 at Woodruff.
— Celina Pompeani (@CelinaPompeani) February 25, 2019
Downed trees and wires blocked access to Jefferson Hospital overnight on Coal Valley Road. Crews were eventually able to reopen the road, and allow access to the hospital from Route 51.
Here’s a complete list of road closures in Allegheny County:
A speed of 61 mph was recorded at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Meanwhile, wind speeds of 74 mph – hurricane strength – was reported in Tucker County, West Virginia, on Sunday night.
In Sandusky, Ohio, a motorist captured video of a tractor-trailer flipping over on a bridge. In New York City, sidewalk food carts rocked precariously in the gusts early Monday.MORE NEWS: 6 Tornadoes Tear Through Western Pennsylvania
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