The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 5, 2014

Icy weather cuts power to more than 200,000 in Pa.

PHILADELPHIA — The icy conditions have knocked out power to more than 200,000 electric customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and prompted school delays and closures, legislative delays and cancellations and speed reductions on major roadways.

There were not reports of power outages in Cambria County, but many schools in Cambria and Somerset counties were closed. The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Mount Aloysius College, tweeted that all classes for the day were canceled. St. Francis University is operating on a two-hour delay while classes at Penn Highlands Community College and Allegany College of Maryland's Somerset campus will begin at noon.

PECO reported more than 217,000 customers without power early Wednesday in the five-county Philadelphia region, most of them in suburban counties. More than 95,000 customers were without power in Chester County alone.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike ordered speed limits reduced to 45 mph and has banned empty tractor-trailers until further notice. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation also dropped speed limits to 45 mph on a number of roads including a number of interstates.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Administration reported delays and some cancellations on suburban Philadelphia routes, and a spokesman said Wednesday morning that the situation appeared to be worsening as ice and moisture brought trees down onto lines. Riders were urged to use caution and delay commutes if possible until conditions improved.

Philadelphia International Airport reported 139 cancelled flights early Wednesday but planned normal operations with all four runways open.

Many school districts announced delays and some canceled classes entirely.

The Pennsylvania House will be on a two-hour delay while the Pennsylvania Senate and offices under the Governor's jurisdiction were on a three-hour delay, while almost all committee hearings were canceled.

Pittsburgh and surrounding areas were dealing with about three inches of snow, topped by ice created by freezing rains that began falling before dawn. Most roads were plowed and passable, though black ice was a consideration in spots as the freezing drizzle continued in spots as the morning rush hour began.

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