MERCER COUNTY —
Whoosh! Crack! Bzzzz!
The 2013 Spring Thunderstorm Season is officially on. The competition for the mightiest wind of the year began with a storm that downed hundreds of trees and knocked out power to about 8,500 Mercer Countians.
Earlier in the day, there were afternoon reports of hail that whitened yards in Hermitage with ice crystals about the size of nickels and dimes.
With perhaps its most dramatic work, the storm took part of the roof off Sharon Coatings, an industrial plant on Sharpsville Avenue in Sharon. Just up the East Hill at Buhl Farm park where Sharon, Hermitage and Sharpsville come together, a score of trees were toppled by wind.
“It was like a funnel taking the shingles off our attached garage,” Hazen Road residents Debbie Uberti. “It sounded really bad.”
The street was closed between Forker Boulevard/Mercer Street and North Buhl Farm Drive because of downed trees, including a massive oak in Dave DeForest’s yard that ended up blocking the road.
Workers from Penn West Tree Service spent about an hour clearing the road.
“It was a straight line wind. It lasted a good 45 seconds to a minute,” Hazen Road resident Bill Shea said.
Shea watched the storm from his porch and saw DeForest’s tree come down.
“I heard the popping and the crashing,” Shea said.
Hermitage Fire Chief Robert Goeltz and Sharon Chief Terry Whalen both were busy responding to calls throughout the Shenango Valley.
“Trees are down all over the place,” Whalen said at the scene of a tree down on wires and a car on Hall Avenue.
“It was like a cloudburst or something,” Euclid Avenue resident Greg Shrump said while watching neighbors chop up a downed tree in Sharon.
“It was just a really strong wind that came all of a sudden,” Shrump said.
Around the corner, Brad Thompson marveled how the storm sheared off a 60-foot blue spruce in his back yard on Norris Street.
The tree narrowly missed two cars parked in the driveway and its top landed in his back yard.
“It was all wind. Sheer wind,” Thompson said.
Matthew Kramer, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said the storms were “relatively organized” and produced a broad swath of high wind, which he said was at least 70 mph.
“It’s awful tough to tell (how fast the wind was) without (seeing) the scope and nature of the damage,” Kramer said.
“We’ll be looking into it (today),” he said.
The storm was fueled by a “very strong” upper level disturbance over the Southern Plains that collided with cold air aloft here.
“The instability led to thunderstorms,” Kramer said.
It caused the weather service’s phone to ring “off the hook,” he said.
New this season is a line for storm reports the NWS is touting with its warning. That number is 412-282-1988 and the line was busy much of Wednesday night.
The storm knocked out power to about 8,500 customers, Penn Power Area Manager Chuck Jackson said.
Crews were expected to work through Wednesday night, Jackson said.
The outages were scattered, ranging from pockets affected by downed trees, to areas affected by four substations that were off-line early Wednesday night.
Power should be restored by the time you read this, Jackson said.
Wind fells trees, flicks off lights
MERCER COUNTY —
Whoosh! Crack! Bzzzz!
- Local News
- News briefs from April 24, 2014
Bus cameras will be listening, too
Hermitage School District is taking advantage of a recently enacted exemption to the state’s wiretap law in allowing officials to turn on the audio recording capability on school bus and vehicle video cameras.
Union, city OK 4-year contract
Hermitage’s nonuniformed employees have a new four-year contract that gives them average pay hikes of 2.5 percent a year and the opportunity to live outside the city limits, while allowing administrators more flexibility in scheduling.
2 principals to be hired
Sharpsville Area school directors needed a shove to make a decision but the board voted Tuesday to interview candidates and hire two principals for 2014-15.
Prison term upheld for sex offender
A sex offender challenging a 4- to 8-year prison sentence for a probation violation lost an appeal of that sentence.
Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life
The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.
Man deemed predator – for now
A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.
Not even waste will be wasted
Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.
3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State
Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.
Volunteers protect Shenango River
Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.
For many, recycling’s become way of life
When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.
Many items can’t be thrown away
The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.
While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.
Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims
A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.
“We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.
- More Local News Headlines