Storm toppled trees, closed roads throughout York County
NORTH CODORUS — Beverly and Gary Wolf's house was turned upside down — that is to say, a small pink-and-orange children's playhouse that got tossed and turned around their backyard — as a result of a storm Wednesday night that caused widespread damage and power outages throughout York County.
Gary dripped sweat as he manually sawed away at smaller branches of a larger tree that fell into their yard. Beverly, his wife, took away the dead branches and hurled them into the woods.
"We never get anything that bad here, nothing like that," Beverly said. "It just came up, and we were shocked. ... It could have been worse."
Though the Wolfs only experienced the mildest of the storm's ferocity, one Conewago Township man lived through a rare occurrence.
York County 911 received 169 storm-related calls between 5:42 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday, as the storm blew through the region, said county spokesman Mark Walters. Trees toppled on houses and across roads. Power lines were knocked out, causing outages for thousands, officials said.
In Conewago Township, a 51-year-old man was apparently struck by lightning while standing on his porch about 6:15 p.m. in the 300 block of East Butter Road.
“It appears at this point a lightning strike hit a tree outside the home... (and) lightning also hit him," said Northern York County Regional Police Lt. Gregg Anderson.
The man's wife found him, and Newberry emergency medical responders arrived and transported him to York Hospital, according to the lieutenant, who said the man was conscious when responders arrived.
Strinestown Fire Chief Frosty Wertz said it appears the man was "energized" from the lightning strike.
“It struck the tree, went across the ground, and hit him — he was standing on the porch,” Wertz said.
Dover Township was especially hard-hit, Anderson said. Dover Township Fire Department dealt with a tree bringing down power lines in the area of Fox Run and Alta Vista roads.
“Only one tree with some branches — it brought down a total of six Met-Ed poles," Deputy Fire Chief Brian Widmayer said.
Lines fell down near Robins Nest Daycare on Alta Vista Road, prompting the fire department to evacuate the building as a precaution. Widmayer said 28 students and faculty were housed at the fire station for less than an hour before transportation arrived.
A bus from B&B Transportation came after-hours to provide transportation to the evacuees, according to the deputy chief.
Two people were stuck in their cars for about an hour on Fox Run Road because of the downed wires, Widmayer said.
“Once Met-Ed took care of the power, they were able to get out," Widmayer said.
The Dover fire department was at the scene for about three hours until Met-Ed took over.
Dover Area schools were closed Thursday because of storm damage and a loss of electricity.
North Codorus Township Fire Chief Tim Carr said the fire company received seven calls in a three-hour period during the storm.
On Trinity Road, two buildings were affected by the storm. The chief said a portion of Trinity Excavating's roof was blown off.
Another home in the 900 block of Trinity Road had a tree fall into it, he said.
"Luckily there was no one injured," the chief said.
Several trees fell on Indian Rock Dam Road in the township as well, he said.
"That truly was the road that was impacted the most," Carr said.
The Wolfs, who live on Indian Rock Dam Road, lost power at 6 p.m. Wednesday and were still without power about noon Thursday. Gary said officials told him and his wife to expect power back on around 4 p.m.
"When you live in a forest, what do you expect?" Beverly said, with a laugh.
About 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Met-Ed reported just over 450 people were without power in York County. There were more than 14,000 York County residents without power Wednesday night.
"It just got really, really dark, and then a whirlwind came through, really shaking the house. It was really bad, and the rain was just pouring and hammering down," Beverly said.
Felton Fire Co. Lt. Tyler Burkins said the fire company received 15 calls for service as a result of the storm. The fire company covers Felton, Chanceford Township and Windsor Township.
In total, the fire company had five separate groups of people handling calls during the storm. He said 15 firefighters from Felton Fire Co. were helping Wednesday night.
Crews were dispatched to two incidents of trees down, three incidents of trees being down on cars, and a total of nine trees on houses, according to Burkins.
Two electric service lines and one cable service line were affected, he said. Burkins added that three electrical poles snapped.
While the storm only lasted 10 to 15 minutes, firefighters were out at the scene for several hours.
“We had five trucks out in the area searching for any problems, and we actually drove over our whole area just to make sure everything was covered and nothing was missed," he said.
He said he was going to assess the damage later Thursday. No one was injured in their incidents either.
In York City, the biggest issue responders encountered was a large tree falling in the 400 block of West Market Street, according to York City Fire Chief Chad Deardorff.
“We did not get hit nearly as hard as other areas in the county," he said.
Deardorff said Thursday morning that the tree had been cleared.
Strinestown Fire Chief Wertz said the fire company also handled a fire in the 100 block of Jewel Road about 9:45 p.m. The fire, which was on the outside of the home, was put out by the homeowner using a garden hose, according to Wertz.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
“We’re not sure if it’s a lightning strike or not," Wertz said.
In Windsor Township, a downed tree in wires is closing both directions on South Duke Street between Winterstown Road and Franklin Street.
Craig Evanego, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in State College, said Thursday morning that the weather service had only received official reports of numerous trees falling in the New Salem area just before 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Evanego added that there were widespread reports of damage in other counties in the region, including Adams, Dauphin and Lancaster counties.