SHAMOKIN TOWNSHIP - Approximately 1,400 PPL customers in Shamokin and Ralpho townships were without power Sunday morning when high winds accompanied by steady rainfall caused a large tree to fall and snap off electrical lines onto Route 61 near Masser's Farm Market.

The tree fell from the opposite side of Shamokin Creek, across a bridge and blocked the outside southbound lane of Route 61 near the farm market north of Weigh Scales around 3:05 a.m. The tree pulled down electric, telephone and television cables.

All but two customers near the farm market had their power restored by 11:11 a.m., according to PPL regional director Jim Nulton in Harrisburg.

Nulton said homes and businesses in Shamokin and Ralpho townships experienced power interruptions. At 3:30 a.m., 159 of the 1,389 customers had their power restored. By 6:40 a.m., PPL had restored power to 698 customers. Only two customers remained without power throughout the afternoon hours. Their power was restored at 6:24 p.m.

He said crews from PPL's service center in Marion Heights, who responded to the scene at 4:45 a.m., repaired the lines.

The two southbound lanes of Route 61 were closed for a brief period of time. Southbound traffic was later contained to one lane until approximately 7 a.m. when the highway was completely opened. The northbound lanes of the highway remained open throughout the repair and cleanup process.

PennDOT employees, firefighters and fire police from Stonington, Elysburg and Ralpho fire companies removed the tree from the highway and assisted police with traffic control.

The emergency was one of two calls answered by local firefighters within a one-hour period. Elysburg and Stonington firefighters and fire police responded to a chimney fire and furnace malfunction at about 4 a.m. in the Irish Valley section of Shamokin Township.

Also, the digital telephone system at Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, which is less than a mile away from the farm market, was knocked out of service for several hours in the morning, but it couldn't be confirmed if that was caused by the tree falling onto the power lines.