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Freezing rain leads to power outages

January 07, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

TRI-STATE -- Ice accumulations Tuesday night and Wednesday morning weren't as severe as predicted but some power outages throughout the Tri-State area were blamed on downed trees and wires.

A winter storm warning for the Tri-State area was lifted at noon Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported.

Police agencies reported only a few minor accidents on the mostly wet roads Wednesday morning.

Maryland State Police responded to nine reported collisions in Frederick County Wednesday morning. Freezing rain and ice contributed to all but one collision. Downed power lines, telephone lines and trees created hazardous conditions throughout the northern region from Lewistown to Emmitsburg.

U.S. 15 at the Pennsylvania line was closed for more than two hours as crews from Allegheny Power worked to repair a broken pole and remove power lines across all lanes of travel.

Allegheny Power said the pole snapped as a result of the distribution of weight from the ice on the lines. These downed power lines created one collision but no one was injured, police said.

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Troopers controlled the lane closures and rerouting of traffic as the State Highway Administration was unable to provide support due to numerous other calls for service.

In addition, Md. 77, Md. 194, and Pryor Road were temporarily closed during this storm. One collision resulted in a minor injury.

Hardest hit with power outages were parts of Berkeley County, W.Va., including Hedgesville and Glengary, according to Janice Lantz, Allegheny Power spokeswoman.

As of 1 p.m., more than 650 customers in Berkeley County and more than 200 in Morgan County were without power, according to Allegheny Power's Web site. Spotty outages were also reported in Kearneysville in Jefferson County, W.Va., Lantz said.

Power had been restored to approximately 900 customers in those areas by 9 a.m., Lantz said.

The problems began around 2 a.m., she said.

In Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania, more than 1,100 customers were without power as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, according to Allegheny Power's Web site. Particularly hard hit were customers in McConnellsburg, Pa., Lantz said.

"A few customers were without power in Williamsport and Brownsville but Washington County wasn't hit very hard," Lantz said.

As of 1 p.m., 105 customers were without power in Washington County, Allegheny Energy's Web site reported.

More than 1,500 customers were without power in Frederick County, Md., the Web site said. Garrett County had nearly 1,200 customers affected and Allegany County reported nearly 1,900

"Crews are all out working to restore (power to) customers and should have most cleared up today," Lantz said.

Meanwhile, Allegheny Power crews were to remain on standby status in case snow and wind predictions move into the area over the next day or so.

o For updated weather forecasts, road conditions and school closures or delays, go to The Herald-Mail Accuweather

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