Overnight storm causes serious damage

Chopper 6 looks down on the damaged metal fabrication facility in Philadelphia's Summerdale section.

November 17, 2010 3:24:14 PM PST
A violent storm whipped through the Delaware Valley early Wednesday morning, causing serious damage and knocking out power.

PECO says as many as 17,000 customers lost power earlier today, but the remaining problems are scattered. Toppled trees were largely responsible for snapping power lines and causing most of the power outages.

The bulk of those outages are in Bucks County.

The storm has uprooted trees all across the Delaware Valley, especially in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Philadelphia and South Jersey were hit hard as well.

Meanwhile, high winds flipped over small planes at the Trenton-Mercer Airport in West Trenton and tore off the roof of an airport office building.

The winds hit at about 4:00 a.m. Seven light aircraft were damaged, including one belonging to the Mercer County Community College Flight School. No injuries were reported. Airport runways were in kept in full operation for all tenants and transient aircraft, officials said.

The owner of one of the damaged planes, Darren Wilson of Yardley, Pa., made his way to Trenton to check out the damage.

"The wings have the most significant damage," said Wilson. "The [propellor] appears to have been struck straight into the ground and the cockpit is crushed."

In Bucks County, swirling gusts partially collapsed the roof at the Hampton Inn Suites in Lower Makefield Township.

Employees at the hotel said it felt like a tornado blew through the building, causing doors to fly open and slam shut in the lobby, while tearing apart a section of the roof.

"It sounded like a car crashed through the lobby. That's what brought me out here," the night manager said.

Hotel officials told Action News that most of the damage is inside the hotel.

The building was filled with guests, but there were no evacuations and no reports of any injuries.

In Philadelphia, the storm focused much of its fury on the Whitaker Avenue area. A scrap metal company had its windows blown out and shattered, the roof was torn off and even a generator nearly toppled over.

Truck driver David Ferrick was sleeping in his cab when the straight line winds hit shortly after 3:00 a.m.

"It was a whistling sound like a freight train coming through there," he said. "It was weird."

Ferrick says power lines began to rain down on his truck and much of the surrounding area. He soon realized he was stuck.

"The way the cab started lifting up and down... I really got worried about that," said Ferrick.

Down the road at the Naval Logistics Base, trees were uprooted and the facility suffered other major damage.


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