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Homeowners speak about Tropical Storm Isaias ripping through Hammonton on Tuesday, causing widespread damage throughout the area. Cherry Hill Courier-Post

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There are fewer remaining power outages in Camden and Gloucester counties from Tuesday's tropical storm Isaias than most other areas of South Jersey, but it may still take days to fully restore all customers.

Isaias produced torrential rain, a tornado in Cape May County and regional tornado warnings, flooding and damaging winds gusting up to 75 mph as the brunt of the storm hit the region Tuesday morning.  

Both PSE&G and Atlantic City Electric say they have begun restoring some power, but some customers may not have powerr until the weekend as both companies have given priority to the most essential business customers.

"As damage assessment continues, PSE&G believes that Isaias is among the strongest storms to hit our service territory in recent years and that some outages could last for an extended period," PSE&G spokeswoman Rebecca Mazzarella said Wednesday.

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"PSE&G expects at least 85% of our customers still without power to be restored by Friday night, but some difficult restorations may continue through the weekend—possibly into Monday. Crews are working 24/7," the company explained in a press release late Wednesday.

"As of 4:45 p.m., we have restored power to 315,000 customers and have about 260,000 customers still without power. Since the Tuesday storm, approximately 575,000 of our 2.3 million customers reported a power outage or damage associated with Tropical Storm Isaias."

PSE&G reported 4,977 customers without power in Camden County and 571 in Gloucester County on Wednesday afternoon compared with nearly 30,000 in Burlington and more than 45,000 in Essex and 80,000 in Bergen still without power.

Between the morning and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, PSE&G reconnected more than 10,000 customers in Burlington County and 3,000 customers in Camden County, according to its updated outage map.

Several thousand of those remaining without power in Camden County were centered in Cherry Hill and Voorhees west of Route 73 and east of Route 70, where trees and lines fell, for example, on Covered Bridge Road.

Elsewhere in Cherry Hill, the Lions Den Park on New York Avenue near Cooper Landing Road remained closed Wednesday due to tree debris.

While PSE&G is the largest state utility in terms of customers, Atlantic Electric provides power to most land territory in South Jersey.

Atlantic City Electric reported 1,467 customers in Gloucester County and 1,912 customers in Camden County without power as of Wednesday afternoon. 

" A significant amount of work remains to repair the damage and customers should be prepared for a multi-day restoration effort," said Frank Tedesco, spokesman for Atlantic Electric, which also covers the lower half of Camden County and most of Gloucester County.

He projected service for most customers will be restored by end of day Thursday and that the company expects all customers, including those in the most heavily damaged areas, to have service restored by Saturday evening.

"Tropical Storm Isaias was one of the most destructive and expansive storms to impact Atlantic City Electric’s service area, ranking fourth of all time in terms of customer power outages. The storm’s high and sustained winds, heavy rains, and, in some areas, tornadoes, caused extensive damage across the service area to some customers and to the company's transmission and distribution system," Tedesco said.

The National Weather Service reported rain totals varied greatly from less than an inch at Atlantic City to an average two to three inches in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties. However, Logan Township and a few other spots in Gloucester County had five inches that caused mainly street flooding.

"It was mainly a wind event at the shore and a wind and rain event to the west with the greatest rain farther west," said Dean Iovino, a weather service meteorologist at the Philadelphia/Mount Holly forecast office in Westampton, adding that eastern Pennsylvania had four to eight inches of rain. 

The highest wind gust of 75 miles an hour was recorded in Cape May while most wind gusts inland were in the 50 and 60 mile-per-hour ranges, according to the weather service.

Iovino said the back end of the storm fizzled before it arrived in the afternoon because dry air had begun to mix into the tropical system and resulted in just light winds.

A weather service tornado report issued Wednesday said two of the six tornadoes spawned by the storm in the tri-state region were at the Jersey Shore in Marmora hamlet in Upper Township and in Barnegat.

In Marmora some homes, businesses and vehicles were damaged and utility poles and many trees downed, including across busy Route 9.  

Tedesco said Atlantic City Electric made major progress overnight Tuesday, restoring electric service to some of its 209,000 customers who were without power and managing major tree damage, broken poles, downed wires and damaged electric equipment caused by the storm.

"More than 1,325 personnel, including company crews, local contractors, and resources from several other companies from as far away as Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Canada including Atlantic City Electric sister companies ComEd and Pepco, are assisting in the restoration effort for approximately 200,000 customers who lost power."

Both utilities are giving high priority to restoring critical users such as hospitals, nursing homes, police stations, supermarkets and gas stations.

Tedesco said the majority of Atlantic City Electric outages occurred  Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean counties.

Atlantic City Electric customers may access the latest outage information through the company’s mobile app, automated phone system or its website outage map at atlanticcityelectric.com  

PSE&G customers can visit outagecenter.pseg.com for an outage Map, which is frequently updated.

Carol Comegno loves telling stories about South Jersey history and our military veterans. Her book, “The Battleship USS New Jersey: From Birth to Berth” is the definitive history of the battleship. If you have a story to share, call her at 856-486-2473 or email ccomegno@gannettnj.com.

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