UPDATE: [10 p.m.] At Montgomery County Community College, all classes scheduled to begin before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday are cancelled. The school promised a decision by noon Wednesday on whether evening classes would be held.
Power is still out at the college's central campus in Blue Bell Tuesday evening, which is requiring the school to use gas-powered generators to power its information systems, including its website and email facilities.
Administrators and support staff were asked to report to work at their regularly scheduled times on Wednesday, safety permitting.
UPDATE: [9:30 p.m.] Norristown Area School District posted the following notice to the high school's Facebook page:
"On Wednesday, October 31st, All NASD schools will open at their regularly scheduled times. All after school activities will also resume. Thank you for your patience!"
Norristown Patch has been unable to reach school officials for confirmation, though there is no reason to believe the notice is incorrect.
East Norriton Parks & Recreation Director Larry Brown notified Norristown Patch that due to the large amount of trees down and debris, East Norriton will push back trick or treating to Saturday evening along with Norristown and West Norriton.
Norristown Patch will be checking in with other neighboring municipalities first thing Wednesday morning.
Governor Tom Corbett told reporters today that Pennsylvania "dodged a bullet" with Hurricane Sandy and noted that states with shorelines, like New Jersey and New York, were some of the hardest hit. In Pennsylvania, three have reportedly died as a result of the storm over the course of the last few days alone. All were related to falling trees or branches.
While most local officials are agreeing with the governor's assessment, many are still working overtime to clean up the destruction left in the wake of the storm.
Here in Norristown, Norristown Fire Chief Thomas O'Donnell reported that his firefighters answered close to 50 calls between yesterday and this morning.
"Most of them involved wires and trees down," said Chief O'Donnell. "We had a couple homes with roofs blown off of them and one chimney collapse, but overall I think the community as a whole dodged a significant bullet."
According to Chief O'Donnell, by midday there were still 2,738 PECO customers without power and crews are currently working to restore power to those residents. Montgomery County as a whole saw more than 175,000 customers lose power, with East and West Norriton, Lower Providence, Upper Merion and Whitpain being some of the hardest hit locally.
West Norriton Fire Chief Kevin Guirate told Norristown Patch that his units had a similarly busy night and in fact were still actively responding to Hurricane Sandy-related calls into Tuesday evening. Most calls were for downed trees and wires and no injuries were reported.
"That's basically what we're dealing with now," said Chief Guirate. "There's not really much we can do but wait for PECO. It's just securing the area and moving on to the next one."
Chief Guirate noted that they were still staffed and ready to take calls as they come in.
East Norriton Fire Marshal Frank Ludwig noted that his units handled between 20 and 30 calls last night and while many were similar downed tree- and wire-related reports, Norriton Fire Co. handled a small fire at Timberlake Apartments. Firefighters handled the call so quickly, residents of the apartment building took to Norristown Patch's Facebook page to thank them for their great work.
See pictures of some of the destruction and damage firefighters were dealing with in our gallery.
Most municipalities have reported they will reopen tomorrow for regular business, including Norristown. Montgomery County offices and the Courthouse will also resume regular operating hours.
Still no word from the Norristown Area School District, but Philadelphia schools have announced they will resume classes tomorrow, as will Methacton and North Penn school districts.
The Red Cross shelter operating at the high school remains open as of Tuesday, Oct. 30.
According to the municipality, Norristown trash collection will resume on Wednesday, Oct. 31 on a holiday schedule. If your collection was scheduled for Tuesday, place trash out on Wednesday; if you collection was scheduled on Wednesday, place trash out on Thursday, etc.
Parking enforcement will resume in metered parking locations on Wednesday, with enforcement in residential neighborhoods resuming on Friday, Nov. 2.
Both Norristown and West Norriton will be pushing back Halloween trick-or-treating to Saturday, Nov. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. so both towns can have time to clear streets and make necessary repairs.
Norristown Patch was unable to confirm Halloween plans with other neighboring communities, but will update our readers as the information becomes available.
Tree Clean Up
The municipality has offered these simple rules regarding disposal of downed trees, branches, leaves and other debris:
- Trees located on private property, including along sidewalks and alleys, are the responsibility of the property owner. When a tree falls as a result of a storm like Sandy, it is the responsibility of the property owner to properly remove it.
- Norristown Public Works crews will clear the streets of downed trees, and may cut the trees into sections so that they can safely remove to the side of the road. However, the Public Works Department will not haul off the tree for disposal. The private property owner is responsible for removing the tree and any branches.
- If you need to remove scattered yard waste, including smaller branches, leaves and other debris, place leaves in a biodegradable bag or container. Cut the branches into one-inch thick sections and tie them into bundles no longer that three-feet in length. Place these materials out for collection the second full week of every month, the day after your regular collection day.
For more information on Norristown clean-up efforts and post Hurricane Sandy operations, call the municipality at 610-272-8080.