A man walks through Market Square during an evening thunderstorm Thursday.
By Benjamin Mueller Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Power companies have begun restoring service to Western Pennsylvania, but many residents are still feeling the effects of severe thunderstorms that moved through Pittsburgh on Thursday.
According to figures from Penn Power's website, hundreds of Penn Power customers had their power restored between 9 a.m. and noon today. Westmoreland County power outages dropped from 4,945 to 2,247, while outages dropped by a few hundred customers to 3,966 in Armstrong County, 5,134 in Cambria County, and 1,600 in Indiana County.
Reported Penn Power outages in Allegheny County rose to 1,499 at noon. Butler County continues to experience the heaviest outages, with 9,179 customers missing power.
Rob Lombardo, area manager for Penn Power, said that he expects the southern part of Butler County and Allegheny County to have power restored by midnight tonight. He said power may not be restored to northern Butler County and Armstrong County until midnight tomorrow or Sunday morning.
Joey Vallarian of Duquesne Light said only 400 customers remain out of power. He expects all customers to be restored by early afternoon today.
Mike Fries, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, attributed the damage to atypically strong winds.
He said the highest measured wind gust yesterday reached 74 miles per hour in Westmoreland County. He said severe thunderstorms generally bring winds around 60 mph.
The National Weather Service recorded three-quarters of an inch of rain yesterday at Pittsburgh Airport.
Mr. Fries said the National Weather Service is still evaluating reports of tornadoes yesterday in Jefferson, Forest, Venango, and Clarion counties.
He said meteorologists would not know how the rainfall may have affected drought conditions until next week.