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Election Day storm kills 1

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    Tamaqua workers cut down a tree across the road at North Lehigh and West Rowe streets in Tamaqua on Tuesday. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a gallery of photos from the storm. NICK HARTRANFT/TIMES NEWS

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    A Kunkletown man was killed when a tree fell on his car on Jonas Road, west of Galaxy Way. WEST END REPORTER CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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    Route 54 in Rush Township is closed due to a tree down on utility lines. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

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    Tree down across Lentz Trail Jim Thorpe . PPL is projecting power to be returned Thursday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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    The force of the storm rips out a tree at the American Legion post on Route 209 in Gilbert. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published May 16. 2018 11:45AM

A brief but powerful storm ripped through the area Tuesday, bringing with it reports of up to 60 mph wind gusts and around an inch of rain.

Trent Davis, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, said the majority of reported storm damage came from Monroe County.

“We saw a lot of problems, mostly trees down, out of that area and we’re looking into a fatality where a tree fell on a car and killed an individual,” Davis said. “The storm definitely fell off by the time it got down to Philadelphia and the New Jersey area, but if you were in the higher elevations, it definitely packed a punch.”

Several residents, Davis added, reported pea-sized hail in addition to the rain and wind.

Kunkletown man killed

A Kunkletown man was killed Tuesday afternoon when a tree fell on his car.

Monroe County Coroner Thoms Yanac said Matthew Ryan, 31, was killed when a tree was uprooted during a severe thunderstorm that moved through the area.

State police at Fern Ridge, who investigated, said Ryan was traveling westbound in a 2016 Subaru Impreza during a thunderstorm with high winds when the tree fell on top of his vehicle. The Impreza continued west for about 100 feet before coming to rest. Troopers said the roof on the Impreza collapsed from the impact of the tree.

Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene. He was wearing a seat belt.

West End Fire Company and ambulance volunteers assisted at the scene.

Storm left many without power

National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area through 4:15 p.m.

Dispatchers in Monroe County reported around 4:30 p.m. that a possible tornado touched down in Mount Pocono.

Power outages took place throughout the area. PPL reported that as many as 80,000 customers in the area were without power at times during the storm.

Of those, 19,000 alone were in Monroe County and roughly 4,000 were in Carbon.

Stores along Route 443 in Mahoning Township, such as Walmart and Tractor Supply, were without power.

Trees were reported down throughout Carbon County, from Palmerton to Weatherly.

A downed tree at Third and Lafayette streets in Palmerton caused ambulances to have to take an alternate route to the St. Luke’s Palmerton Campus, according to scanner reports.

A utility pole caught fire on Moseywood Road in Kidder Township.

At different points, Lentz Trail in Carbon County, and Jonas Road in Monroe County were closed.

Weatherly Area School District buses were running late as a result of the storm.

Chestnuthill Township was the hardest hit in Monroe County. Nearly 3,000 people were without power and businesses along the Route 209 corridor were in the dark for four hours, including many fast food restaurants.

That meant long lines at the hot food counter at ShopRite, with people ordering everything from pizza to the 99-cent grilled cheese special.

West End Fire Company, which houses polls for two precincts, was operating on generator power.

As of Wednesday morning, 2,159 customers were without power in Carbon County including 1,285 in East Penn Township. In Monroe County, 10,626 customers remained without power, while 680 customers in Schuylkill County, 269 in Lehigh County and 155 in Northampton County were waiting on power to be restored.

PPL officials said they are estimating that power should be restored to all homes by Thursday night.

Roads still closed

According to reports, Route 54 in Rush Township was closed due to a tree down on utility lines.

A bus in the Weatherly Area School District was running 10 to 15 minutes behind schedule, district officials said.

In Chestnuthill Township, Pine Street was down to one lane from Sawdust Drive to Aspen Way due to a downed tree.

Portions of Silver Valley, Frantz and Sawdust drives were also closed at one point.

Polling place moved

A polling place in East Side Borough had to be relocated Tuesday following the storm.

“A utility pole with a transformer snapped in front of the East Side Borough Building around 4 p.m. and the live wires were hanging in front of the building entrance so they weren’t allowing anyone to enter,” said Wayne Nothstein, Carbon County commissioner. They evacuated the building and packed up the election stuff and moved to the Lehigh Gorge Family Campgrounds, which is owned by one of the council members there.

Moving forward

The rest of the week isn’t looking great either, Davis said.

“Wednesday is expected to be a cooler day with more showers,” he said. “Thursday should be a little drier, but still with the chance of showers. Friday and Saturday are looking to be similar in nature to Wednesday with temperatures in the mid-60s and a chance for showers. Sunday looks to have a little more significant chance of rain with thunderstorms in the forecast.”

According to Davis, the wet weather is to be expected with a system that seems to be locked in place over the area.

“Yeah, we’re kind of stuck in this pattern right now,” he said. “The front has just settled over us and looks to be carrying through the rest of the week.”

Judy Dolgos-Kramer, Chris Reber, Marta Gouger and Amy Miller contributed to this report.

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