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Mount Eagle’s lone road blocked for almost a day after storm

The only road in and out of Mount Eagle in Howard Township was blocked by a tree and downed power lines until about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The only road in and out of Mount Eagle in Howard Township was blocked by a tree and downed power lines until about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. srafacz@centredaily.com

A small community in rural Centre County had no way in or out of town after the storm hit on Monday evening.

High winds and heavy rain hit the area, causing a tree to fall on power lines, bringing the lines and part of a pole across the only road that goes to Mount Eagle, a community of fewer than 100 people located about 5 miles northeast of Milesburg.

Beth Thomas, 45, has lived in Mount Eagle for almost her entire life, and she can’t remember Old 220 Road ever being blocked.

In addition to kids not being able to get to school and people not being able to get to work, she said her biggest concern was for her elderly neighbors.

Thomas said she was worried that should there have been a medical emergency, first-responders wouldn’t have been able to get their vehicles into town.

Some people brought gas for generators and ice for freezers to the families in Mount Eagle, Thomas said. People who couldn’t drive home on Monday night after the road got blocked had to leave their cars on the side of the road and walk to their houses.

A crew from near Pittsburgh, contracted by West Penn Power, cleared and reopened the road by about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

West Penn Power expects to restore power for most customers in the county by 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Matt Milliron, senior planner in the Centre County planning office, arrived in Mount Eagle just before the road reopened.

He needed to get to the other side of the roadblock to check how much water was in the community’s storage tank and take photos of damage to the backup reservoir building.

The backup building had a tree branch through the roof, but Milliron said they’d only use that building if there was an emergency with the main building.

Power was out to the treatment facility, and Milliron had to manually check how much water was in the tank.

It was at about 85 percent capacity, he said, and gravity would still take water down to the town.

It’s a couple days’ worth of water, he said, so the power isn’t needed until the tank is empty and new water from the well needs to be treated.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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