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Area power crews nearly finished with repairs

June 18, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

Power was expected to be restored Thursday night to most Washington County homes and businesses, two days after a violent storm accompanied by three tornadoes wreaked havoc in some areas.

Following the storm, 41,000 customers in Allegheny Power's five-state region were without electricity, and 4,500 Hagerstown City Light Department customers were without power.

City Light had restored power to all its customers by 9:30 p.m. Thursday, said Karl Kohler, City Light official.

By Thursday afternoon, about 700 Allegheny Power customers in the Williamsport area were still without power, but workers expected to have it restored by evening, said Angie Figueroa, Allegheny Power spokeswoman.

Hagerstown Business College President Jim Gifford complained that the school remained without power Thursday, forcing the school to suspend classes for two days, while electricity had been restored to homes and businesses surrounding him.

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"Why is it that priority was not given to this school?" he asked.

Crews from Allegheny Power and Hagerstown's City Light Department had worked nearly around the clock since Tuesday night when the storm pounded the area, downing trees and electric lines for miles.

Allegheny Power crews from Winchester and Roanoke, Va., Fort Ashby, Augusta and Elkins, W.Va., and from Waynesboro, Pa., were sent to Washington County to help workers repair electric lines, according to Mike Spiker, an Allegheny Power official.

Power crews had to cut down fallen trees and replace broken utility poles before workers could repair electrical lines, power officials said.

Two funnel clouds in Washington County, packing winds of 70 to 90 mph, cut parallel paths of destruction from the Tammany and Van Lear Manor neighborhoods northeast to Halfway, according to the National Weather Service.

A third tornado touched down just southeast of Washington County Regional Airport and traveled northeast about two miles to the Pennsylvania state line.

The most severe damage was at Valley Mall and Wesel Boulevard in Hagerstown, but areas as far south as Sharpsburg and Keedysville sustained severe wind damage.

Hagerstown residents who have an electrical problem may call City Light at 301-790-2600.

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