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.


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.

Susan Koomar October 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM
All Bethlehem recycling centers are closed Monday and Tuesday and there will be no curbside collection either day.
Susan Koomar October 29, 2012 at 10:45 AM
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.
logansteele October 29, 2012 at 02:06 PM
From the Morning Call website: Recycling pick up for Mon. and Tues. in Bethlehem has been canceled. Lanta buses are canceled for today. A decision regarding service for tomorrow will be made at three PM today. LANtaVan specialized transportation service will run today for dialysis and emergent medical needs.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 03:54 PM
The city of Bethlehem has declared a "state of emergency" as of 10:30 a.m. Historically flood-prone streets in the Saucon Park area and along the Monocacy Creek, including Conestoga Street and Mauch Chunk Road, will be evacuated as of 3 p.m.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Bethlehem Area School District schools will be closed on Tuesday.
logansteele October 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Millard Street in Bethlehem is closed between Edgeboro Blvd. and Sycamore St. due to a power live power line problem.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 02:40 AM
According to PPL Outage Center, about 27,000 Bethlehem customers are currently without electricity.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 07:18 AM
Posted on the Bethlehem Township Police Department Facebook page: Update on conditions in Bethlehem Township. At this time the power is out to much of the township. High winds and numerous fallen trees have caused many downed wires and electrical short circuits. Many traffic signals and most street lights are out. On a positive note, we have not seen much of a flooding problem in the township at this time. Our road crew has been out all night, and will continue to be out, removing fallen trees from the roadways as quickly as possible after they are found. This has kept the majority of our roadways open and passable. However, most roadways are littered with fallen debris such as branches and leaves. There is still a good deal of the storm yet to come. We recommend that you do not drive anywhere if it is not necessary. If you do decide to drive on the roadways, please be cautious, and remember that there is a lot of debris and there may be dangers such as fallen power lines that have not yet been found. As daylight arrives we will be able to assess conditions a bit better. Unfortunately we can give you no info regarding the restoration of electrical power, as this is something that is totally up to the utility company. Bucket truck crews have not yet been out making repairs, as the storm is still activley moving through the area.
logansteele October 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Easton Ave. in Bethlehem in the neighborhood of St. Anne's church appears to be without power and has been since last night around 10:30 PM. This includes the east side of Sycamore St. also. Millard St. between Sycamore and Edgeboro Blvd. remains closed and large tree limbs are down. Power remains on in most homes but a live wire is loose. Route 22 eastbound traffic is being diverted to rt. 33 or rt. 378 as of 6 AM this morning. If traveling to Easton or NJ please check local city web pages to determine if non-emergency vehicles are allowed to pass.
SNOW WHITE October 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM
our entire area pointe north hanover township bethlehem has been without power since 8:20 pm last night.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 02:42 PM
City officials say 54 intersections with traffic lights are without power. Bethlehem Police say motorists are to treat each of them as you would a four-way stop sign.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Bethlehem Area Public Library will remain closed today: http://patch.com/B-c4FS
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 03:18 PM
About 30,000 city homes remain without power. PPL says it has no estimate on when power might be restored.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 03:27 PM
For a hot cup of joe and a charge for your mobile device, The Wise Bean http://patch.com/L-sCBX, 634 N. New St., is open for business.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Bethlehem Area School Superintendent Joseph Roy tweets that 20 of the district's 22 schools are currently without power. But he expects that to change during the course of the day.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan just posted the following on his Facebook page: Just a quick note: city hall is running on generator power and full crews are out clearing debris from roads. Please be extra careful out there and stay home if at all possible to allow the streets work to be completed unfettered. Remember do not go around barriers as they are placed for a reason and any streets without active lights become four way stops. We were lucky and avoided widespread flooding, now it's a matter of cleanup and getting things back to normal. Thank you everyone for your patience and be kind to your crews working on your behalf.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
PPL has told at least one customer we know of that power could be restored to West Broad Street by 5:30 p.m. One other sign of normalcy: The Easy Weenies hot dog cart on Fourth Street in SouthSide has opened for business. If you'd rather get a slice, we hear Sotto Santi is also open.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 06:58 PM
PPL customers without power can get free water and ice courtesy of the utility at the Supermercado Mi Tierra at 226 E. Third St. in the SouthSide or Weis Markets at the Westgate Mall, Crawford Drive (off of Route 512) or William Penn Highway. For a complete list of locations where free water and ice are available: https://www.pplelectric.com/my-account/outage-center/~/media/PPLElectric/My%20Account/Docs/Ice-and-Water.pdf
Daryl Nerl (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Bethlehem Area Schools will remain closed on Wednesday. Sixteen of 22 school buildings in the district still do not have power.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) 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 (Editor) 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 (Editor) 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 (Editor) 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 (Editor) 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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