Wind, hail cause weekend power outages

 

DOVER — It sure feels like early spring, doesn’t it?

Over the weekend whipping winds blew through Delaware, toppling trees and snapping power lines.

What’s next?

The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. today, followed by a watch from 10 p.m. today until 9 a.m. Wednesday.

There’s a 70 percent chance of precipitation in Kent County on Thursday and Friday night temperatures may drop below freezing.

While Saturday temperatures are projected to reach 49 with sunny skies, the ongoing breeze will make it feel cooler.

The Delaware Electric Cooperative reported 1,500 members lost power overnight Saturday into Sunday, fueled by wind gusts reaching 60 mph and hail dropping from the sky.

The cooperative said a severe thunderstorm warning was issued at approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday as the storm of wind, rain and hail moved through the region.

According to spokesman Jeremy Tucker, “Co-op crews quickly responded, and by 3 a.m. on Sunday, linemen had restored power to most of the members who lost electrical service due to the storms.”

Weather related issues continued for the next several hours, as well.

“However, very strong winds arrived as the cold front pushed through and hundreds of additional power outages were reported throughout the day on Sunday,” Mr. Tucker said.

The winds knocked trees and branches onto power lines, during a high wind warning period issued by the weather service, Mr. Tucker said.

After almost all power was restored by 7 p.m., Mr. Tucker said “crews were able to go home and take a much needed break.”

According to Bill Andrew, Delaware Electric Cooperative’s president and CEO, “[w]e would like to thank our hardworking and dedicated employees for their many long hours of work this weekend.

“We’d also like to thank our members for their patience as crews worked to remove trees from the lines and fix damaged equipment.”

Terming the upcoming weather predictions as “good news,” Mr. Tucker said, “Forecasters say there is no chance for severe weather in Delaware over the next few days.”

Delmarva Power reportedly had scattered outages throughout Delaware on Sunday, mostly in New Castle County.

“Trees and tree limbs that fell onto power lines caused most of the outages,” Delmarva spokesman Matt Likovich said. “The majority of customers in Delaware had service restored by late Sunday evening.”

At about 10 a.m. Sunday, Delmarva had the following approximate outage numbers:

• New Castle County, 9,000; Kent County, 175; Sussex County, 500.

Delmarva had watched the building weather reports and prepared itself for a response.

“We monitor weather forecasts all the time, so we were ready to deal with Sunday’s windy weather,” Mr. Likovich said. “We had sufficient personnel on duty to handle all restoration work.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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