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Pittsburgh Weather: High Winds Cause Power Outages, Utility Crews Prepared

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Sunday was a rough day around the Pittsburgh region with calls coming in for downed lines, trees and transformers all over the area.

Power crews from Duquesne Light and First Energy are currently working to restore power to residents across western Pennsylvania.

As of 10:30 p.m., approximately 97,000 First Energy customers were without power across Pennsylvania.

More than 19,000 customers in Westmoreland County were without power, along with 10,000 customers in Allegheny County and 11,000 customers in Washington County.

More than 49,000 Duquesne Light customers in the Pittsburgh area were without power as of 12 a.m. Monday.

Duquesne Light said that the high winds were causing unsafe working conditions, so crews are focused on removing hazards and isolating damage. Crews cannot work in bucket trucks when wind speeds are over 40 mph.

The company announced just before 10 p.m. Sunday that full system restoration could take multiple days. Crews will work 16-hour shifts until all power is restored.


The wind storm whipped up problems for residents all over, including the Windgap section of the city, which is now in the dark. Duquesne Light is trying to restore service but say it's going to be a while.

You didn't even need to be outside to know exactly how windy was.

The strength of the wind blew down limbs and lines in Homewood. Downed wires were dangling dangerously close to Blackadore Street.

"It got real windy and I heard something go 'bap bap bap bap bap' and that was the power line," Charlie Watkins, a West End resident, told KDKA News.

In the Windgap section of the West End, the strength of dangerous winds took down a huge tree on Harlow Street and that's when the problems started inside.

Another Windgap resident, Bob Puzausky, described the scene when he walked outside his home.

"The pine tree took the wires down, telephone pole, street light, transformer. It even ripped bricks out of the neighbor's house," he said.

Sunday plans came to a halt and as residents came out to assess the damage caused by the downed trees.

Watkins showed KDKA the damage in his yard.

"Uprooted this big pine tree up here on this street, took this tree down in my yard, tore my fence up, tore the neighbor's fence down," he said.

Duquesne Light called in extra manpower, all needed, they say, for this storm.

Jamie Stack is the Storm Manager with Duquesne Light.

"It's widespread throughout the service territory, both in Allegheny and Beaver County," Stack said. "We brought in additional personnel to help, not only assist with the linemen but also assessing the outages and dispatching crews as needed."

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One of the areas hardest hit by the high, dangerous winds was the West End.

With no telling how long it's going to be before power comes back on, many residents in the city's Windgap section just needed to get out of their homes.

"We're stuck here. I'm going to try and keep warm, that's the only thing we can do right now. The temperatures are still dropping," Kimberly Watkins said.

"We had no power for over six hours and we still don't have any power now," Davida Nash told KDKA News.

Watkins and Nash left their residence because no power meant no heat.

Earlier, they tried to warn the house with candles but gave up, it was simply too cold. Outside, the relentless winds were still blowing.

"They're not fixing it tonight, so they cut the tree up and the wires and everything is going to stay down until tomorrow," Dana Rohm said.

For Rohm, not only does she have a young son but an infant daughter, so staying in the dark wasn't an option. Her house was hit hard by winds and the falling trees.

"The bricks are out of the side of my house," she said.

Preston Rohm is her son.

"I was scared at first because I didn't what was going to happen," he said.

With not only the power out, Sunday's high winds took down large daunting pines, which in turn took down utility lines and cable lines, causing a dangerous mess of cables all over the street.

West End resident Douglas was virtually stuck inside his home when the trees and lines came down.

"I didn't come out of my house because these wires were probably live and I think they were live," he said.

Harlow Street in the West End is a dead end, but utility crews were at least able to clear the roadway for cars, which means residents can get to work in the morning.

Crews were in the buckets trying to restore power late Sunday. It was too windy to do so earlier in the day.

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