High winds and thunderstorms ravage Butler County

Published by Matthew Glover, Date: April 10, 2023
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Last weekend, high winds and severe thunderstorms ravaged Slippery Rock and Butler County causing mass power outages, tearing off roofs and toppling trees in their paths.

The storms are estimated to have knocked out power to more than 17,000 homes. Three days after the worst of it, thousands still reported being without power. West Penn Power reported around 3,300 outages, Penn Power reported about 480 and Central Electric Cooperative reported more than 150.

Almost a week later, First Energy still reports 14 customers without power, according to PowerOutageUS.

Authorities also ordered several road closures, and pictures of fallen trees in roads and yards circled social media.

Dan Winger, whose home sits on Route 8 between Slippery Rock and Harrisville, had a tree partially on his lawn almost fall on his house.

High winds ripped the tree out of the ground by the root system. The roots are on the neighbor’s yard, and the main portion is on Winger’s yard. Brandon Pierce

The tree did not break but had its root system pulled out of the ground by wind instead. Winger was in the living room while the kids were on the side of the house closest to the tree.

The tree was touching the house while on the ground. Miraculously, the house was not damaged besides the power line. Brandon Pierce

“I was sitting there,” he said, “and I heard this WOOOSH, and I said, “what are you guys doing back there?’”

The tree’s heavy branches missed the house by inches in places. The family though it could have been a lot worse. Brandon Pierce

His son shouted that the tree fell, and Winger went in to make sure he had heard correctly.

The tree detached an electric line from the house, but they never lost power. The power company went out and had it reattached to the correct spot within two days.

Winger also lost internet and called Armstrong to restore it, but they would not come out to until the tree was gone as it poses a safety concern. Winger decided to shut off the internet for now as an adjuster could not come out for another week.

The power company put orange tape around the debris to mark the dangerous area. The tree fell through the power line attached to the house and a small fence. Brandon Pierce

Local businesses also had damage control to manage.

In Harrisville, Hughes Penn Gold Ice Cream was without refrigeration and had to either sell or move much of their stock.

A Facebook post on April 2 asked for the support of the community as they offered deals to bring in customers. Some community members offered generators in the comments, and the shop closed early that day.

In Slippery Rock, North Country Brewing Company had a tree fall on their porch temporarily stalling business.

This tree on Main St. in Slippery Rock fell on North Country Brewing Company’s porch. The general manager later cut it with a chainsaw and removed it. Jenny B's Florals & Gifts

A tree on SRU’s campus also fell on the McKay Education Building.

Construction crews work to clear a tree that had fallen on McKay Educational Building after high winds hit the area. Abby Malzcon

 

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