Storms leave region reeling

July 24, 2008 4:59:33 AM PDT
The skies lit up with explosions of lightning giving us quite a light show as another wave of summer storms cut thru the region.

There seemed a sense of urgency in Mother Nature's delivery of rain to the sun-scorched region.

But the violence it unleashed took a toll... in Bethel Township, Delaware County, 22-year old police officer John Carpenter was struck by lightning at the Bethel Fire Company station at Faulk & Naamans Roads.

Authorities say he was standing in the open bay door when a bolt of lightning struck the building and traveled down the bay door frame knocking him to the ground.

He was rushed to Crozier Chester Medical Center where he was being treated, listed in stable condition.

Meanwhile, the Bed Bath & Beyond on Route 202 in King of Prussia also got struck by lightning scaring the devil out of workers and about 20 to 30 customers.

"I'm so scared, oh my God, I almost fell down," said Myung Hwang of King of Prussia, Pa.

Lisa Gomes was in the store with her father buying a birthday gift for her mom when it happened.

"There was a strike, and it sounded like a light was going to fall and my first reaction was to take cover. Then they said we should leave," she said.

Fortunately there were no serious injuries and the fire was brought under control. Damage was set to be heavy.

Earlier the torrential downpour and high winds proved too much for this poor woman in Bala Cynwyd. Her umbrella seemed to be of little use but she braved the storm for a little while before making a run for shelter.

Streets and highways experienced flash flooding with the rain coming down faster than storm drains could handle. And predictably, the storms also brought down trees and power lines causing a rash of power outages across the tri-state area.

Chad Pradelli reports

Torrential rains, strong winds and lightning pounded the area.

"You couldn't see anything, it was terrible. I actually thought I was going to die. It looked like the end of the world, let's put it that way," said Desire Bradwell of South Philadelphia.

She and her friend got caught driving in the storm. She says visibility was next to nothing and the marble-sized hail had them frightened.

"It was hitting car, it was hitting the windshield. I actually thought the windshield was going to break," she said.

This scene on the 800-block of South 15th Street played out across the region. Punishing winds took down trees, which took down power lines.

On the 1900-block of Schley Street...this tree blanketed this car.

"There was really no warning?out of nowhere. It was like Gotham City, dark as can be outside and then you hear hail coming down. Like at our office someone didn't close the window and we had bits of hail on our computers," said Carolyn Kelly of South Philadelphia.

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