Emergency responders and repair crews remain busy this morning dealing with the impact of a severe storm – possibly a tornado – that struck northcentral Pennsylvania with a vengeance at about 2:40 Thursday afternoon. There was one confirmed fatality. Potter County Department of Emergency Services (DES) reported that a woman was killed by a falling tree in the Genesee/Hickox area during the peak of the storm. Her name was withheld, pending notification of kin.
As of 5 am Friday, DES reports that there are about 2,700 Potter County homes and business without power, most of them in the Coudersport area. Crews are making repairs but companies have not been able to forecast when electrical service will be restored. Potter County Emergency Management Coordinator Glenn Dunn has asked residents to check on their neighbors and assist emergency responders in helping those in need.
Damage reports are being evaluated from several communities in the county, with Coudersport, Roulette and Genesee among those hardest-hit. At least a half-dozen homes in Coudersport were damaged by falling trees or limbs and a Sweden Valley home ignited when it was evidently struck by lightning. Some motor vehicles were also damaged by falling trees. The accompanying photo was taken at the Campbell residence at Mill Street and Allegany Avenue in Coudersport. There were no injuries there. Three blocks away, one of the dugouts at Metzger Field and two massive pine trees near Coudersport High School were destroyed. Part of the roof at the Friendly Inn, in the village of Roulette, blew off.
Major routes have reopened, but many secondary roads and streets remain blocked by fallen trees and/or downed power lines.
The same storm system that swept northwesterly through Cameron, McKean and Potter counties hammered Elmira, N.Y., later Thursday afternoon with what officials believe was a tornado.
Fire and ambulance personnel as well as state or local police were scurrying across the region to respond to fires, evacuation/rescue operations and at least one serious motor vehicle crash on Rt. 6, between Coudersport and Roulette. They were also checking with assisted living facilities to assure that back-up power supplies were available and functioning.
Potter County’s Emergency Operations Center can be reached at 274-8900.
Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.