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Hurricane Sandy: Bethlehem Information Center

Use the article to find and share information about Hurricane Sandy's impact on Bethlehem.

UPDATE FOR November 1

  • Bethlehem Area Schools are closed for the fourth consecutive day today and a full week without classes seems likely. As of Wednesday afternoon, 11 of 22 district buildings had no electricity and Superintendent Joseph Roy tweeted that PPL hoped to have that number at 17 by some time today. "We can only wait and see," he wrote.
  • You can get a free cup of coffee, courtesy of PPL, at Weis Markets this morning from 6 to 11 a.m. A "small thank you for your patience and understanding" as the utility continues to chip away at the Valley's widely scattered blackouts.
  • About 19,000 Bethlehem homes remained without electricity as of early this morning. Another 3,200 homes were still without electricity in Bethlehem Township. PPL said it expects to have electricity restored to all of its Lehigh Valley customers by no later than Sunday night.
  • Between 45 and 50 traffic lights in the city still had no electricity as of late Wednesday afternoon. The Bethlehem Police Department started cracking down on motorists who are not stopping at signal-less intersections as if they have four-way stop signs, writing "many" tickets, according to a department tweet.
  • Bethlehem City Council cancelled a committee of the whole meeting that had been scheduled for 7 p.m. today. However, city officials were expecting to have power restored to City Hall today and to be open for business for the first time this week.
  • Full power had been restored to the Bethlehem Waste Water Treatment Plant by mid-day Wednesday. While the plant lacked power it was necessary to dump a quantity of raw sewage into the Saucon Creek just above its confluence with the Lehigh River, according to Joe Kelly, the city's director of community and economic development.
  • City inspectors have been combing the streets looking for storm damage, not just to infrastructure, but to homes for a report on storm damage the counties are preparing for a possible application for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, Kelly said.
  • ArtsQuest postponed tonight's Musikfest Cafe show starring former American Idol champion Lee DeWyze. Wednesday night's featured show with blues artist Keb' Mo was also postponed. No information was available on new dates.
  • The Downtown Bethlehem Association has postponed its monthly First Friday celebration of arts and business in South Bethlehem until November 9 -- the second Friday of the month.
  • St. Luke's University Hospital postponed its Volunteer Open House, which was scheduled to happen Friday, to an unspecified later date.
  • In a Twitter post, Bethlehem Area School Superintendent Joseph Roy affirmed his intention to allow the Liberty Hurricanes and Freedom Patriots to play their annual crosstown rivalry football game as scheduled at 1 p.m. Saturday. "Something for the community to look forward to during these tough times. #BASDPROUD," he wrote. In fact, the bands from both high schools had practices scheduled for today even though there are no classes.
  • Many thanks to Patch user Barbara Tracy for her storm damage photos, one of which now accompanies this story. See the rest of her pictures -- and upload storm pictures of your own in our Superstorm Sandy Bethlehem Photo Gallery.

To get the latest news and updates on the storm recovery and aftermath, follow Bethlehem Patch on Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE for October 31

  • Bethlehem Area Schools remain closed today. Sixteen of 22 district buildings were still without power as of Tuesday evening.
  • About 25,000 city homes and more than 7,600 homes in Bethlehem Township remained without electricity as of Tuesday night. There was no clear timetable from PPL for restoration.
  • 60 of 122 traffic signals in the city were without power as of Tuesday night. Generators are being used to power five of these intersections -- all in South Bethlehem near the Five-Points. Motorists are advised to treat intersections with non-functioning lights as four-way stop signs.
  • As of Tuesday evening, there were still 50 trees blocking streets across the city. One-hundred street blocking trees were cleared during the day.
  • If you are a PPL customer who is without power, you can get free bottled water and ice from the Supermercado Mi Tierra at 226 E. Third St. or Weis Market locations in the Westgate Mall, Crawford Drive or William Penn Highway, among others.
  • The American Red Cross shelter at 2121 City Line Road was still open.
  • City Hall and the Bethlehem Area Public Library were among the areas of the city that remained without power and had no anticipated time of restoration.  Call in advance before attempting to conduct business at either location.
  • Classes resume today at Northampton Community College's main campus, but the Fowler Family SouthSide Center will remain closed. Moravian College has cancelled classes today. Lehigh University has cancelled class for the remainder of the week.

ORIGINAL STORY

As we hunker down to ride out Hurricane Sandy, we want to make sure that Bethlehem stays connected.

  • For live updates during the storm, be sure to download our App for your smartphone or tablet and 'like' Bethlehem Patch on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  • Send us messages through social media and email (daryl.nerl@patch.com) and we’ll make sure the information is added here.
  • If you notice wires down or a tree across the road, please alert authorities and then let us know so we can spread the word quickly. You can add information or ask questions as part of this story in the comments section below.

Bethlehem Patch is all about connecting neighbors so we hope you’ll find this information hub helpful as we brave the storm together. Stay safe Bethlehem!

*****

The American Red Cross will open an evacuation shelter at noon Monday, Oct. 29, at 2121 City Line Road in Bethlehem to help residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Daryl Nerl October 31, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Bethlehem Area Schools will remain closed on Thursday. 11 of 22 buildings in the district still do not have electricity. PPL now says that everyone in the Lehigh Valley should have power restored by 11 p.m. Sunday.
Daryl Nerl October 31, 2012 at 07:54 PM
School Superintendent Joseph Roy says there are no plans to reschedule the annual Liberty v. Freedom football game for 1 p.m. Saturday. Both school bands are planning to practice tomorrow.
Daryl Nerl October 31, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Bethlehem police say 45 to 50 traffic lights in the city are still without electricity. Remember to treat these intersections as if they are controlled by a 4-way stop sign. Failure to do so can get you a traffic ticket from BPD. Police say they have handed out "many" tickets today. Even more importantly, it is just dangerous not to make that stop.
Daryl Nerl October 31, 2012 at 08:38 PM
An update recently posted on Facebook by the Bethlehem Township Police Department on conditions there: "at this time some electricity has been restored but there are still pockets of the township without it. Most of the traffic lights and street lights are functioning. The vast majority of our roadways are open, and in good condition. If you havn't yet been on the roadways you should be able to travel with minimal problems at this time within the township. In areas north and west of us many trees are still blocking roadways. We hope everyone has remained safe as we begin to return to normal in the township."
Daryl Nerl November 01, 2012 at 06:31 PM
SteelStacks remains without electricity, prompting Habitat for Humanity to postponed its event A Toast to Hope, which was scheduled at the ArtsQuest Center for Sunday afternoon. The new date is February 21.

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