The sounds of winds rushing like freight trains have subsided and have been increasingly replaced by the hum of power restored to homes.
"We no longer have large areas out, only small pockets of customers," Penelec spokeswoman Beverly Green said Thursday.
"We will probably continue to have customers out of power until [today]," she said.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Employees of Charlie’s Tree Service, Altoona, clean up a fallen tree with the help of a crane from Bryce Saylor & Sons Inc. at Maple Avenue and Second Street in Altoona on Thursday afternoon. Please see story on Page A3.
Overall the storm's toll was low in central Pennsylvania, but West Penn Power and Penelec customers in Bedford County were hit harder than most, West Penn spokesman Mark Nitowski said.
About 1,500 Bedford County customers were without power late Thursday.
"The hardest hit areas in that county are Southampton and Monroe townships. They were hit with bad weather coming up from Maryland. Customers there [in Bedford] are in general our hardest hit customers for all kinds of weather," he said.
Power to all Bedford County customers is to be restored by Saturday, Nitowski said.
All four American Red Cross emergency shelters established across the region have been closed because the need has passed, Southern Alleghenies chapter Executive Director Jane Gable said.
Blair County leaders said that they were pleased with efforts to prepare for and react to Superstorm Sandy which left the area with downed trees, power outages and road closings.
"Central Pennsylvania really was spared," Blair County Emergency Management Agency Director Dan Boyles said. "Every way you look at it, we were spared."
Boyles, who collects damage reports, told the commissioners that 175 property owners have reported storm-related damage and most of them have insurance to help cover the costs.
As Sandy ripped through Blair County, not causing enough damage to qualify the county for federal aid, the storm was sure to knock a 3-ton white ash tree onto the Altoona home of Sandy Cox.
Charlie's Tree Service workers estimated the tree's weight as they used a crane to lift it from the house on Thursday. But the 100-year old, three-story wooden house on Maple Avenue
Cox believes the branches padded the impact of the tree's fall.
"I still just can't believe it. We just had to face the problem of getting it off the roof," she said.
It would take about $500,000 in total property damage for Blair County to qualify for federal aid, Boyles said, and it won't even come close to that amount.
Blair County commissioners praised Boyles and other employees who were involved in storm-related activities.
Because of the large amount of calls coming into the 911 Center, Director Mark Taylor said he doubled the size of the staff for 48 hours. And when that wasn't enough, Taylor said the staff forwarded calls to the emergency operations command center set up in Altoona and to local fire departments in the case of downed trees.
County Highway Superintendent Tom Beals said he monitored roads, bridges and the Lakemont dam.
"The rain came slow enough," Beals said.
Commissioner Diane Meling described the employees as dedicated. Had conditions grown worse, she said she believed the county would have remained in good hands.
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O'Reilly is at 946-7435. Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.