Whipping winds trouble town, surrounding areas

PUNXSUTAWNEY — A huge storm that came roaring through Jefferson County Thursday afternoon caused tremendous amounts of damage throughout the area and rumors that a tornado may have touched down in Brookville.

A tornado warning was issued for northern portions of the county at 2:24 p.m. and expired at 3:15 p.m.

According to scanner transmissions: There were reports that a twister had touched down in the Brookville area and that high winds had caused major damage knocking power lines and trees onto area roadways throughout the county.

Some of the hardest hit areas were McCalmont Township, Henderson Township, Big Run, Brook-ville, Reynoldsville and Pine Creek Township.

In the Punxsutawney area there were trees blocking various road including Cloe-Rossiter Road, Greenwood Avenue and Walston Road.

There was damage reported in Barclay Square when the bandstand canopy that is used for the Groundhog Festival, Music in the Park, Church in the Park and Relay for Life sustained heavy damage due to the winds that were clocked at over 60 mph. in some areas of the county.

Jefferson County Emergency Services and the National Weather Service had not determined if a tornado had actually touched down in the Brookville area as of Spirit press time.

Power outages were reported throughout the area, specifically the east end of Punxsutawney, which caused problems with traffic signals going down after the storm.

John Shimko, regional manager for Penelec, said to report an outage to one’s local electric utility by calling the automated reporting line at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877).

Shimko said to report downed wires immediately to the electric company, local police or the fire department.

• Never go near a downed power line, even if you think it’s no longer carrying electricity.

• Don’t try to remove trees or tree limbs from power lines and wait for utility crews to arrive, he said.

Shimko added these safety tips during outages: Keep flashlights and fresh batteries in your home. Avoid using candles to light your home, especially around children and pets.

Make sure you have fresh batteries in a portable radio so you can stay tuned to your local radio station for updates on progress to restore power.

For up-to-date information on Penelec's restoration efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy’s storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, go to www.firstenergycorp.com.

During significant service interruptions, outage information is also available via the company’s Twitter accounts.