Hurricane Irene: Floods linger, lights still out

Hurricane Irene may have left the Delaware Valley early Sunday, but the aftermath still caused headaches for thousands of residents yesterday.

The lights also remain out for thousands of homes in the five-county region this morning and on a greater scale, Amtrak’s well-traveled Northeast Corridor railroad line connecting Philadelphia and New York City was still underwater last night in Trenton. Amtrak officials couldn’t say when trains, including SEPTA’s Trenton line, would be able to resume as normal. Abbreviated service between Levittown and Center City was expected today.

SEPTA spokeswoman Heather Redfern said service on the Paoli-Thorndale and Cynwyd lines was expected to resume this morning.

“We had minimal damage and most of it was downed trees and branches that needed to be cleared,” Redfern said, adding that the agency began working last week to prepare for the possible impact.

Roughly 168,000 PECO customers, including 2,500 in Philadelphia, were still without power yesterday in scattered parts of the region as crews worked to clear trees and repair wires. PECO hopes to restore 90 percent of those customers by the close of business tomorrow and all of them by the weekend.

It will take the city weeks to calculate the total damages, Mayor Michael Nutter said, but he called the city’s response “spectacular.”

“All the things that we put in place to try to deal with what was at least the potential to be one of the worst storms in the last 25 to 50 years pretty much worked exactly the way we had designed,” Nutter said.

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