While thousands across Berks County and the state report power outages, Kutztown and Fleetwood continue to have power today, as of 11 a.m., Feb. 5. Roads are clear in Kutztown but Fleetwood Police report accidents due to patches of slush on roadways.
Fleetwood Police Chief Steve Stinsky reported that early in the morning there was sleet and rain, but by noon it was solely rain. Regarding road conditions, “The major arteries are passable. Earlier there were patches of ice and slush.”
The warmer temperatures and rain helped to clear the roadways, he said.
“The problem is you have large sections of roadway that’s just wet so motorists start forgetting that it’s winter driving conditions, and then they hit patches of slush and end up losing control because they are going too fast,” said Stinsky.
The Fleetwood Police Chief said drivers still need to maintain vigilance.
“Most of the side roads are being tended to as they can by local road crews. Some of those are still ice and snow covered,” he said. “Most of the bridges, even along limited access highways, are still at least partially slush and ice covered.”
Regarding accidents, Stinsky said the department had just responded to two accidents within 10 minutes of each other on Route 222 at the beginning of the bypass.
A vehicle struck a patch of slush and traveled into the median strip and the vehicle rolled.
“Fortunately, the driver was wearing his seatbelt and was uninjured,” said Stinsky.
The other accident occurred while a vehicle was “driving unusually slow, slower than what one would expect, and a tractor trailer came up behind the vehicle, and while the tractor trailer was passing the vehicle, contact was made, causing the vehicle to lose control and hit a bridge abutment,” he said. “Once again, luckily everybody was buckled up and no injuries were reported.”
Police reports with more details anticipated to be released later today.
Stinsky said there were no reports of power outages in the Fleetwood area, however, there are reports of downed branches and low hanging power lines due to being ice covered.
He said Main Street in Fleetwood was blocked that morning because cable and telephone lines were hanging low and blocking the roadway.
“Driving on back roads and some of the side streets in town, the lines are hanging a lot lower because of the ice,” said Stinsky, who recommended residents report any low hanging wires.
He recommended residents also be aware of road barricades which could be due to low hanging wires or a flooded roadway.
“Obviously, we don’t want people driving around barricades and put themselves in danger or the people who may have to come rescue them if things don’t work out for them,” said Stinsky.
His message to residents, “Make sure you take a little extra time to get where you going and make sure you buckle up.”
Kutztown did not have any reports of power outages.
“The Borough of Kutztown is fortunate to have hard working and dedicated road and electric crews ready to deal with any power outages should they occur,” said Kutztown Mayor Sandy Green at about 11 a.m. today, Feb. 5.
“Our road crew has been out all morning plowing and salting our streets. The borough declared a snow emergency last evening allowing our road crew to plow curb to curb,” said Green. “Looking out my front window, there is very little traffic ... mostly borough and university trucks doing what needs to be done.”
Her message to community members, “If you don’t have to go out, please stay home and be safe.”
“We are in good hands here in the Borough of Kutztown,” said Green.
While the morning began with sleet and freezing rain, Kutztown Police Chief Craig Summers told The Patriot at about 11 a.m. that current weather conditions were just rain.
“Roads are mostly cleared but still some icy spots and they are slick,” said Summers.
His message to residents, “If yo do not have to drive, don’t,” said Summers. “Also be aware of the snow emergency routes in Kutztown, cars can be towed or ticketed. The Borough website has a list of snow emergency routs in Kutztown.”