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A wet, wicked storm

Published December 02. 2010 05:00PM

A late-fall storm that whipped through the region Wednesday dumped about 4 inches of rain in some areas, flooded roads and basements and knocked down trees and power lines.

As of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, a downed utility pole along Route 895 near a PPL substation left 4,924 customers in East Penn Township without electricity. At the same time in Schuylkill County, power had been restored to 261 customers, with 287 still without electricity, mostly in the Pine Grove area.

Power was also out in Mahoning Township, forcing the Wal-Mart Supercenter to close at a little after 1 p.m. The TIMES NEWS also lost electricity, but relied on a generator to continue working. The Normal Square area also lost power.

By 1:10 p.m., PPL's online outage center showed East Penn Twp. with 2,991 customers remaining out of service; 25 PPL customers in Lehigh Township remained without power, as were two customers in Mahoning Township and one in Parryville Borough.

Power had been restored to almost all PPL customers by early Thursday morning. One customer in Towamensing Township and one in North Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, were still out as of 7:13 a.m.

The torrential rains caused creeks to overflow and kept fire companies busy pumping basements.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning that was in effect until late Wednesday night. Reports list 4.13 inches of rain as having fallen in Lehighton by 4:30 p.m., according to the NWS.

The heavy rains caused roadways to be flooded, including Country Club Road between Route 902 and Route 443 and County Line Road, both in Mahoning Township, which remain closed by high water from Mahoning Creek. High waters also covered one lane of Route 248, and rain-slicked roads may have contributed to a number of accidents.

The rain began letting up early in the afternoon as the temperature dropped. Overnight temperatures in the Lehighton area hovered in the mid-20s, according to the NWS.

That made for icy conditions on some roads Thursday morning, with numerous accidents being reported during the morning commute. Black ice was blamed for a 4:05 a.m. crash on Route 309 in West Penn Township, and for a 6:30 a.m. crash on Route 902 in Summit Hill.

The rain and high winds toppled some trees, including one in West Penn Township, which blocked a road, and another along Route 895 in East Penn Township.

NWS is forecasting continuing cold temperatures in the high 30s today and the low 20s tonight and partly sunny skies for the next several days.

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