Recent power outages across region cause school closings, other troubles

Casey Collins, Staff Writer

On Feb. 24 and 25, strong winds brought devastation to power lines and caused county-wide outages in the Pittsburgh area. Fallen trees came down on power lines, leaving tens of thousands of people in the area suffering in the dark.

After losing power, multiple school districts were forced to close down on Feb. 24. Freedom was among the many schools that closed after a huge tree collapsed onto a main power line on Harvey Run Road right next to the school.

“I saw on Facebook that a huge tree took out a telephone pole on Harvey Run Road, and I knew both my house and the school would be without power for a while,” senior Riley Mcllvain said.

When the weather brings strong winds, fallen trees are inevitable and often take down power lines with them. In some areas, power lines are set up against very wooded areas and are more susceptible to damage from them. However, there are some communities, such as Treesdale in Pine Richland, where power lines are run underground where they cannot be damaged by fallen trees. However, this is very uncommon, leaving the majority of homes vulnerable to loss of power during wind storms.

Everyone who suffered from the power outages was forced to be stuck in the dark, relying on lanterns, candles or flashlights to see. However, light isn’t the most impertinent loss when faced with a power outage. An extensive amount of people rely on electricity as a means of heating their house. Taking away heat in rigid, cold February temperatures is a huge struggle for those affected.

In addition, electricity is linked to other basic desires and needs such as keeping your refrigerator cold, operating the television or accessing the internet through wifi. Losing power is a huge inconvenience for many reasons. It’s hard to believe how people managed to live in the days before electricity was invented.

“Not having electricity affects the smallest things on a daily basis, like not having my fan on to sleep and keeping our food cold in the fridge. Going out to my car if I wanted to charge my phone was also annoying,” McCllvain said.

Every time there is a power outage, the only thing that is ever left to wonder is, “When will the power come back on?” On Monday morning, Duquesne Light reported to over 34,000 outages as crews took on issues in prioritized fashion. First Energy also responded to tens of thousands of call for reported “trees down.”

Thanks to crews working in 16-hour shifts, all outages were restored in time for schools to open on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and for houses to warm back up before the situation got any worse.