While the strongest wind from the remnants of Hurricane Sandy was yet to reach northcentral Pennsylvania early Monday evening, forecasters said the storm's full impact would be delivered overnight.
The National Weather Service in State College forecast strong gusts Monday night into the early morning hours today. A high wind warning is in effect until 2 p.m. today.
At 9 p.m. Monday, David Martin, weather service meteorologist, said
JOHN NEVILL JR./Sun-Gazette Correspondent
A PPL crew removes a tree that had fallen on wires along Route 973 on Monday.
the storm center was heading west and expected to be over Shippensburg at 9 a.m. today. It will not start northward until the afternoon and may not make the New York border until Wednesday morning.
He said the area's mountainous terrain was distorting some of the winds Monday afternoon, making conditions feel a little more tolerable.
"It will slowly weaken during the day (today)," Martin said, adding moderate rain showers still are expected during the day.
"But nothing real heavy," he said.
Just over a half inch of rain fell at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville by 5:30 p.m. Monday with a high wind gust recorded at 40 mph, according to the weather service.
Martin said gusty winds at 20 mph to 30 mph are expected today, tapering off as the day goes on.
Lycoming, Clinton and Tioga counties still are under a flood watch with the potential for 1 to 2 additional inches of rain, according to the weather service.
PPL Electric Utilities reported more than 2,000 customers without power at 5:45 p.m. Monday, with the bulk of those in the Heshbon area of Loyalsock Township.
A company spokeswoman said the outage was related to the high winds.
By 7:15 p.m., however, most customers in the area had their power restored.
Other electrical failures were reported in Lycoming, Washington, Hepburn, Cummings, Shrewsbury, Penn, Jordan and Muncy townships with about 1,000 customers out of power, according to PPL.
At about 8 p.m., PPL reported 928 customers without power in Piatt Township.
In Clinton County, 435 PPL customers in Pine Creek Township were reported to be without power at 7:30 p.m. And at 9:15 p.m. 980 in Muncy Creek Township also were without power.
Officials at the Lycoming County Emergency Operation Center remained on guard late Monday, waiting to see what overnight damage could result from powerful winds.
"We're cautiously optimistic," said Richard Knecht, the county's Emergency Management Agency director. However, he said the wind is the unpredictable factor.
"We'll be monitoring reports of trees down, highway closures, damage to automobiles and homes," Knecht said.
From the Emergency Operation Center, which began operating at 9 a.m. Monday, county officials as well as representatives from various agencies coordinate the response to the emergency situation at hand.
"I sure hope we don't get any high water; people don't need it," Knecht said, noting that many residents still are reeling from the effects of the flood of September 2011.
"In a 24-hour period, most of the county could take up to nearly 3.7 inches of rain before a flooding event occurred. In a six-hour period, we could take 3.3 inches. In an hour, if we get less than 2 1/2 inches, it is unlikely that we would experience any flooding," Knecht said.
Those statistics are "based on documentation put out by the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center," Knecht said, speaking from the center's radio room.
"The key is that this storm is 30-plus hours in length, from start to finish, supposedly. So we are using the 12- to 24-hour numbers to base our prediction on what to expect (and what the county can handle)," Knecht said.
It certainly appeared late Monday that Hurricane Sandy may have very little impact on the region "at least rain-wise," Knecht said.
All volunteer fire companies were ordered to man their firehouses about 7:30 p.m. Monday.
As most county school districts closed their schools Monday in preparation for the impending storm, local superintendents said they would continue to monitor weather conditions before making a decision for today's classes.
"We'll watch the weather and see what happens," said Dr. Mark Stamm, South Williamsport superintendent.
As of late Monday afternoon, Jersey Shore, Montoursville, Loyalsock Township, Muncy and East Lycoming school districts and Pennsylvania College of Technology, Lock Haven University and Mansfield University announced cancelation of classes today.
Superintendents said any closings would be noted on their district's websites.
US Airways flights at the Williamsport Regional Airport have been canceled until Wednesday afternoon, and the airport itself will be closed until Wednesday morning, according to Thomas Hart, airport authority executive director. Only emergency and military aircraft will be permitted access to the airport until its re-opening, he said.
State roads in the county closed as of 9 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation, were:
1001 (Rose Valley Road) in Gamble Township between Trout Run Mountain Road and Beech Valley Road, (trees down on roadway); 1004 (Field Station Road/Beech Valley Road/Southard Road) between Route 14 at Trout Run and Wallis Run Road in Gamble Township, (trees down); 2004 (Alvira Road/Spring Creek Road) in Washington Township between Sulphur Spring Road and Elimsport Road, (wires down); 2061 (Clarkstown Road) in Muncy Creek Township between Fogelman Road and Route 442, one lane closed, (tree down); 2077 (Beaver Run Road) between Route 118 in Franklin Township and Beaver Lake Road in Penn Township, (tree on utility wires); 2081 (Highland Lake Road) in Shrewsbury Township, between Route 220 and Birch Still Road, (tree on utilities); and 3026 (Beautys Run Road) in Lycoming Township between Daughertys Run Road and Route 15, (tree down).
Lycoming County government, including the courthouse and magisterial district judges' offices, will be closed today except for designated essential employees.
County curbside and drop-off recycling also is canceled for today.
Sun-Gazette reporters Philip A. Holmes and Joseph Stender contributed to this report.