Clifton Heights is once again recovering from the force of Mother Nature. Yesterday, June 24, 2010, a severe storm brought everyone back in time where there were no air conditioners, no washers and dryers, no traffic lights and definitely none of the convinces we’ve become accustomed to. As the neighborhood starts clean-up, stores must remain closed as they have no electricity. Now Clifton Heights is working to the constant thunderous sounds of generators, tree removal and helicopters flying above.
The street I live on in Clifton Heights is typically a target when the storms are brewing as we sit in a valley. We were lucky yesterday. I had just been grocery shopping and was just starting to put things away completely oblivious of what was about to be. I hadn’t had the TV on so I missed the warnings. I hadn’t heard the siren from the fire company a mile away. Not because the sound doesn’t reach here, I am just so used to it I don’t even hear it anymore. Storms like we had yesterday are not at all a typical occurrence here and I did not know that if the siren is steady and unending it is a warning of severe weather. I soon found out, as my house turned pitch black. My normally sunny home was shrouded in a thick darkness that’s very hard to describe, except frightening. Before I could even reach the light, the hail began pelting our windows. My son and I went to the basement for what seemed like the shortest storm I’d ever seen. During those few moments we lost electricity. Once it was over I surveyed the damage. There didn’t seem to be much. Hours later, still no electricity, I ventured out into the neighborhood. Once I got a few blocks I understood why there was no power. It was like venturing into another world. Trees were everywhere, roofs were torn off homes and wires were hanging everywhere.
With an excessive heat watch in effect for the 19018 and surrounding areas until Monday June 28, 2010, many are now without air conditioners or even the slight breeze gained by using a fan. PECO (Philadelphia Electric Company) reported an estimated 200,000 without power as of yesterday, June 24, 2010*. PECO has their emergency crews out on fifteen hour shifts and has restored a very large percentage of that number as of today.
Walking around Clifton Heights is an amazing testament to neighbors helping neighbors and taking charge following a nightmare that some have even said was a tornado. Gina who lives smack dab in the middle of where most of the severe damage in Clifton Heights, Crestwood Drive, and Helen of Wyncliffe Avenue the next street over both stated their belief of this tornado. “all of the sudden everything went white then a noise that sounded like gun shots started”, Helen said as she described the beginning of the severe storm that hit Delaware County yesterday. Helen went on to tell me trees ended up in the front of her house and that she lost all her shutters. On those two streets I spotted four roofs missing at the tops of those two streets. The roofing done around here is flat. As I asked others to describe what they saw and heard at the beginning of this storm that lasted mere minutes, but wreaked havoc on this small town, all agreed. They heard an awful deafening noise, then the blasts of the golf ball sized hail, then it was over. The clean-up is just beginning now.