5,000 still without power as new storm looms
By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
Just as Chester County gets back to something like normal, the National Weather Service is predicting a major snow storm for late Wednesday night and through most of Thursday.
Computer models suggest that the county could see four to eight inches — or more — of snow and even some ice, depending on the track of an off-shore low pressure system.
While local officials work on plans to cope with this newest storm — amidst concerns that road salt shortages could make a tricky situation even more complicated — there are still some 5,000 Chester County residents still without power, most of whom have been left without power for six days.
Two shelters remain open, West Chester University and Barkley Elementary in Phoenixville, and county officials stressed this week that those still without power and heat should use the shelters to stay warm, with overnight temperatures expected to fall near zero Fahrenheit. County Emergency Services officials said Tuesday that the shelters were housing a total of 33 people and 11 animals, although other facilities have opened their doors to assist those in need.
Meanwhile, various service agencies in the county have been working to collect donations for those in need in the wake of the storm.
United Way of Chester County continues to accept donations to aid residents impacted by the ice storm. The Share the Warmth program will address short term needs, such as fuel oil assistance and weather related home repairs, while the Long Term Recovery Committee is available for future needs. Donations can be designated to either Share the Warmth or Long Term Recovery. 211 N Walnut St, West Chester, PA 19380; (610) 429-9400.
The Chester County Food Bank and their local food pantries are in need of food donations. With the prolonged power outage, food safety is a prime concern. County officials say they anticipate there will be a significant increase in need as a direct result.
As for the next storm. the NWS issued a Winter Storm Watch and was calling for snow to start sometime after midnight on Wednesday night and into Thursday. Some areas may see a mix of sleet and freezing rain during the day Thursday — although the models differ for timing and temperature. Winds should increase later on Thursday, so if there is any significant icing, widespread power outages are again a possibility. The latest models as of midday Wednesday were a bit more optimistic — but it appears that at least four inches of snow will fall in most parts of the county, with potential for as much as 10.