LOCK HAVEN - The remnants of Hurricane Ike swept through the tri-county area last evening, buffeting the region with high winds and leaving numerous downed trees and scattered power outages in the wake.
The police scanner buzzed all night with reports from all over Clinton County as Ike proved he still had some fight left in him.
The remnants of the hurricane only clipped Pennsylvania on its march toward Canada, but still managed to topple trees and road signs and knock out power to hundreds of thousands of customers.
A fallen tree rests on top of the home of Fran Poorman in Pine Creek Township early this morning.
PHOTO BY SKINNY WERT
According to Clinton County Emergency Services, the number of incidents were too numerous to list. Fire companies and other emergency units had a busy night of it.
Trees and tree limbs were a leading cause of outages and emergency responses. Hammered by high winds, and weakened by age and insects, trees responded to these insults of nature by sharing the pain with power lines.
Several residents said road and business signs were also sent sailing into the sky by the gusty conditions.
A short note: If you failed to secure your trash cans, lawn furniture and other loose outdoor objects last night, you were looking high and low for them this morning.
Breezy conditions were expected to remain today in the Northeast, even after the main low pressure system has moved well out of the area.
An alert went out at 11:12 p.m. Sunday, as the National Weather Service in State College issued a high wind warning for all of Clinton County.
The storm brought high humidity but little precipitation. The Sewage Treatment Plant in Lock Haven reported just .01 inches of rain overnight - although area residents suffering through the muggy conditions yesterday might have described negotiating the regions sidewalks and highways as a trip through a large bathtub.
Forecasters expected west winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour to slam into the area overnight and warned of occasional gusts of over 50 miles per hour.
In this case, the weather service forecast was right on the money.
The problems began around 11:29 p.m.
One area resident who was traveling from Williamsport to the Lock Haven area said the storm came on quickly and after a time, his journey began to look like a "war zone."
"If it wasn't tied down ... it's gone," a communications center official said. "We don't have anything on velocity, but it blew a bunch of trees over and there's stuff down all over ... numerous wires down and tree limbs all over the place."
The highest wind velocity was recorded in Clearfield County, which recorded 76 miles per hour.
The motoring public hit the roads today to find some paths still obstructed by downed limbs, although most of the damage had been cleared during the night. Motorists traveling through Lock Haven were treated to the sight of a large canopy collapsed over a truck and several ATVs in front of a local auto dealership.
One large tree blocked both lanes of Route 150 at the Tobacco Shed Road last night. The debris was cleared off the highway by this morning.
In Clinton County this morning, PPL reported 159 customers without power, the largest number of outages in the PPL customer service area overnight. Pike County came in a distant second with 102 powerless households. Wayne County reported 96 power outages.
Lycoming County still had 60 households without power this morning.
Most of the problems in Clinton County occurred in Gallagher Township, where 106 households were without power at 7:35 a.m today, PPL officials said.
The rest of our local problems were scattered, with Avis and Flemington boroughs reporting damage, and Noyes, Chapman and Pine Creek townships still reporting problems as of 7:35 a.m. today.
Statewide, the National Weather Service noted a multitude of downed wires and tree limbs, but a statewide report made special note of Clinton County.
Statewide emergency services spokesmen pointed to Clinton County's response to "numerous downed trees, some on homes and cars" and a report of two people with minor injuries "after a tree fell on their car in Lock Haven."
Peak wind gusts of 50 miles per hour were reported in State College and in Lycoming county, the Williamsport area saw 51 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
While there weren't specific wind statistics for Clinton County, the average wind speed of 6.9 miles per hour was recorded Sunday in central Pa. That figure was dwarfed by the steadier wind speeds of 39 miles per hour as the evening approached evening, and was dwarfed even more by the highest recorded gust at 51 miles per hour.
Current conditions in Lock Haven this morning were mostly cloudy with temperatures in the middle 60s and humidity at 68 percent. Wind speeds had been reduced to a westward eight miles per hour at 7:30 a.m. today, weather forecasters said.
In the wake of Ike, a cooler and drier air mass was expected to push into the region today with slowly diminishing westerly winds and temperatures moderating into the lower to middle 70s. A string of dry days with clear skies was expected to follow through Friday.