Four buildings partially collapsed Monday night in Altoona, according to city police.
Emergency crews kept busy tonight with flooded basements, damaged structures and downed trees and power lines as now-post-tropical Sandy continues its march into the mid-Atlantic states.
The humongous storm also brought a wintry mix as far north as Johnstown.
Courtesy photo by Altoona Fire Fighters Local 299
Bricks fell off an apartment building Monday night at 917 Howard Ave., Altoona.
Around 9:45 p.m. Monday, police said they would likely close Fifth and Sixth avenues near Union Avenue in Altoona for the entire night after winds blew a huge chunk of a brick building onto the roadway. High winds whipped against nearby pedestrians as emergency vehicles blocked the roads.
Around 8 p.m., high winds blasted a sheet of bricks off an Altoona apartment building, leaving what appeared to be hundreds of broken bricks scattered alongside the building at 917 Howard Ave.
The falling masonry missed a nearby parked car by inches, resident Katie Isett said.
According to PennDOT:
Route 1011 (Turkey Valley Road)is closed because of a downed tree. The road is closed from Canoe Creek Road to Mattern Road in Frankstown Township.
Route 4002 (Sugar Run Road) is closed because of a downed tree from the intersection of the Cambria County Line/Tunnelhill Street to the intersection of Route 764 in Allegheny Township.
Route 4020 (Reightown Road) is closed because of a downed tree from Hunter Road to Tenth Street in Antis Township.
Route 4018 (Riggles Gap Road) is closed because of a downed tree from Antis Road to Old Sixth Avenue Road in Antis Township.
Route 3014 (Williamsburg Mountain Road) is closed at Fire Tower Road in Porter Township.
Route 3023 (Shore Valley Road) is closed from a fallen tree at Zion Church Road in Clay Township.
Route 2017 (Blacklog Valley Road) is closed because of a fallen tree from Route 522 (Croghan Pike) in Cromwell Township toRoute 2017 (Blacklog Valley Road} in Shirley Township.
Motorists are advised to find an alternate route and reminded to never try to move a downed utility pole or fallen tree. If a driver encounters a downed utility pole or tree, please call 911.
North Fourth Avenue from North Eighth to North Sixth streets is closed because of a partial building collapse at Park Furniture, police said.
Two runaway trampolines were also reported by Altoona police.
Authorities in Altoona hadnt received any reports of injuries as of 10 p.m., city spokeswoman Linda Rickens Schellhammer said.
More than 23,700 Penelec and West Penn Power customers, mostly in Blair, Bedford, Cambria and Huntingdon counties, were without power late Monday in the Mirror coverage area, according to the utilities outage website.
Outages were also reported in the Valley Rural Electric Cooperative service area.
The peak number of outages Monday reached 1,400 consumers, with crews restoring power for 100 people. About 1,300 residents were without electricity as of 8 p.m. Monday, spokesman Doug Roles said.
"We have multiple outages system-wide. We've lost no substations or main feeders," Valley Rural Operations Manager Todd Ross said. "The outages range from three to 50 people. We are backfeeding in some areas to keep people in service."
Outages were reported by Valley Rural members in Blair, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties.
"Going out of my mind," said a Penelec worker at about 10 p.m Monday as he attempted to locate a circuit necessary to restore customers' power on 23rd Avenue.
Meanwhile, chainsaws sliced through the night as Altoona Public Works employees and Altoona police cleared roads of trees knocked down by the storm.
A huge pine tree blocked a stop sign and half of an avenue fittingly named Pine Avenue, where another uprooted tree was pressed against two two-story houses with lights out and no visible damage done.
Emergency officials have advised residents to stay in their homes and with trees blocking roadways and laying on top of cars throughout the Juniata section of Altoona, they might not have had a choice.
But authorities in Hyndman, Bedford County, ordered all residents east of the railroad tracks to evacuate after nearby Wills Creek rose 9 feet in 90 minutes, county Emergency Management Director Dave Cubbison said. Flooding there appears increasingly likely, he said.
In Huntingdon where the Juniata River is projected to rise to 12.8 feet high, Pennsylvania Avenue and Route 522 will likely close, he said. Aughwick Creek at Shirleysburg is projected to rise as high as 14 feet.
Clearfield County Emergency Management dispatcher Kevin Graham said there have been a few partially flooded roadways on Monday which have been cleared.
The weather service urged people to especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of floods and flash floods.
Most flood deaths occur in automobiles, and never drive your vehicle into areas where water covers the roadway, the weather service said. Just 1 foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road.
The weather service issued flood warnings for several rivers and streams in the Mirror coverage area.
The warnings are in effect from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon for: the Little Juniata River at Spruce Creek, the Juniata River at Huntingdon, Aughwick Creek at Shirleysburg. the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River at Saxton and the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River at Williamsburg.
Creeks and rivers in the Tyrone area are rising rapidly and could flood in the early morning, borough Emergency Management Coordinator Jay Young said.
High winds have blown trees and power lines down across Blair County, emergency management officials said. County Emergency Management Director Dan Boyles said he opened an emergency operations center shortly after 7 p.m.
Logan Township responders have received multiple calls for downed trees and power lines, township Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Blake said, though roads through out the township remained open as of 7 p.m. Logan Township Police Chief Ron Heller said some roads, including portions of Plank Road and Logan Boulevard, could be closed if flooding becomes serious.
Penelec and West Penn Power offered the following tips:
Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune in to a local radio station for current storm information.
Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cellphone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when power is out. If you have a smartphone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
Electrocution is a concern with flooded basements in Cambria County, 911 shift supervisor Tracey Stafford said.
"It's been relatively slow for what they are calling for," she said. "But the EOC has been open since 8 a.m. The center increased telecommuter staff."
Water rescue teams are on standby.
A vehicle was reported trapped in a pond, but it turned out to be some 4-wheel vehicle driven into a waterlogged field.
"People just want to go out and see what's going on when they should stay indoors," Stafford said.
Another call was received about a vehicle washed under a bridge but when first responders arrived, no vehicle was found.
Cambria County emergency shelters have not opened, but fire companies and agencies are preparing to receive people who lose power, Stafford said.
About 2 inches of snow that was accompanied by thunder fell in Johnstown, the weather service said. In Somerset County, 9 inches fell at Mount Davis and 6.2 inches of snow fell at Laurel Summit.
Due to safety concerns associated with Hurricane Sandy, PennDOT is closing all Driver and Photo-License Centers, including the Riverfront Office Center in Harrisburg, on Tuesday.
The state Department of Labor & Industry is closing all unemployment compensation call centers in the state on Tuesday. Claimants may still file claims and find answers to questions online 24 hours a day at www.uc.pa.gov.