2012 Top Stories: Superstorm Sandy

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Dec 31, 2012 4:00 AM
Downed trees following Hurricane Sandy

(Harrisburg) -- Areas of New York and New Jersey are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy after it slammed the East Coast in late October.

The system also brought damaging winds and rain to the midstate.

Power companies prepared for Sandy days before its arrival by calling up extra workers from areas outside the storm's path.

Public Utilities Commission Chairman Robert Powelson says those extra hands made a difference when it came to the cleanup.

"We're ramped up and ready to go, and it's a testimony to our utilities" Powelson says. "The Governor shared with me a nice editorial about the use of social media, and I'll say it's been a game change. Customers want to hear from their utility, and that message came out of last year's storm events."

Roughly 141,000 customers in the midstate were in the dark at the height of the storm, and many spent days without electricity.

PennDOT closed more than 400 roads across the state, but its crews were able to re-open most of them quickly.

Spokeswoman Erin Waters says inspectors had to deal with obstacles like fallen trees and damaged bridges.

"We need our staff and local staff, as necessary, to be out there and look at any bridges that have been identified as priority bridges and may have had safety concerns previously," Waters says. "They'll check on those first."

Twelve people in Pennsylvania lost their in incidents related to the storm.
In Berks County, a 62-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his house, and an 86-year-old was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator running inside his garage.

In Lancaster County, a man fell from a tree while he was trimming it in preparation for the storm.

While the loss of life was unfortunate, state leaders praised a higher-than-expected level of preparedness.

Mary Morrissey, who owns Tom B. Morrissey TV and Appliances in Myerstown, says customers were making sure they had the proper equipment even after the storm passed through.

"People are coming in. They lost electric. They're still coming in for radios and dehumidifiers, mainly."

Morrissey says within a week of the storm's passing, business at her store increased by 40 percent.

Business took a hit at Sheetz gas stations two weeks after the storm, as it ran out of 87 and 89 octane due to refinery damage along the East Coast.

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