The Lehigh Valley's recovery from superstorm
But the return to normalcy was overshadowed by news that the Valley's death toll from the storm had risen to five.
In Lower Macungie Township, Tammy Kerosetz, 48, of the 3600 block of
Meanwhile, 86-year-old Theresa Schlitzer of the
Julia Gravatt, who was watching her grandchildren next door, said Schlitzer lived alone and had probably gone outside to check on something.
"She was an independent woman," Gravatt said. "I saw her just about a week ago on a big
Kerosetz, a mother of two, was home alone during the storm. She had been having problems with the generator after she lost power, said her brother-in-law,
Kline said he and his wife, Pam, were unable to drive to Kerosetz's house to help her because of fallen trees in his area.
"We thought it best to wait it out," he said.
Kline drove to Kerosetz's house about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to check on her and found her near a stairway inside the home. He said her dog and several cats were also dead. The generator had been running inches from the garage door — a deadly mistake, because the combustion produced odorless, colorless carbon monoxide.
Ben Galiardo, Lower Macungie's deputy emergency management coordinator, said people using generators should place them outside.
Kline said his sister-in-law had a son and a daughter, both of whom were in foster care. He said Kerosetz had been working at a restaurant at
"Maybe if we could have come over, it wouldn't have happened," Kline said.
The family of the Penn Forest man who died of carbon monoxide poisoning still had not been notified late Wednesday, Carbon County Coroner Bruce Nalesnik said. The man lived on Patten Circle in the Valley View Estates development, Nalesnik said.
The area's other storm victims were Robert Mills, 17, of
At least four other deaths in Pennsylvania were blamed on the storm, and the U.S. death toll had risen to 57 by Wednesday.
The main task of the recovery was restoring power. Millions of homes and businesses in the enormous storm zone were without electricity in Sandy's immediate aftermath, including 1.5 million in Pennsylvania.
Late Wednesday, the Lehigh Valley's biggest utility,
PPL reported 115,238 outages in Lehigh and Northampton counties alone as of 8 p.m. Wednesday.
He estimated everyone's power would be restored by late Sunday, though many customers could see the lights back on much sooner. The utility sets priorities based on the complexity of repair jobs and the number of customers each job will restore.
"We look to repair the damage that will have the biggest impact first," Nixon said. "If there is damage to transmission lines or high-volume distribution lines, we will go to that first. We rank the remaining jobs based on the numbers of customers affected."
Met-Ed reported about 44,833 homes and businesses remained without power at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Lehigh and Northampton counties. In
For some, power could be out until the middle of next week, the utility said, but it expects "95 percent" of customers to be restored by the weekend.
The total number of home and businesses without power as of 8 p.m. Wednesday in Lehigh and Northampton counties was 160,071, down 41,712 from the same time on Tuesday.
Although downgraded to a post-tropical storm from a hurricane just before striking near Atlantic City about 8 p.m. Monday, Sandy left a huge swath of destruction as waterways swelled and surged along the coast. In Pennsylvania, including the Lehigh Valley region, the wind brought most of the destruction rather than the rain.
The National Weather Service said 1.43 inches of rain fell at Lehigh Valley International Airport over the three-day storm, but a weather spotter measured a wind gust of 81 mph Monday night in south Allentown — the highest wind speed recorded in Pennsylvania. Hanover, in York County, received the most rain, with 8.15 inches.
No major flooding was reported or expected in the aftermath of the storm, which had been downgraded to a low pressure system as it continued moving north through western Pennsylvania.
Air travel was virtually back to normal Wednesday at Lehigh Valley International Airport, and up on a limited basis in New
At LVIA, only its shuttle bus to Newark remains grounded, while the remainder of its 27 flights per day have resumed.
"We're nearly back to normal. It was really a function of the airlines getting their equipment where it needs to be," said LVIA executive director Charles Everett Jr. "We do still have some delays, and as always, people should check the status of their flight with their air carrier or our website [FLYLVIA.com] before coming to the airport."
John F. Kennedy, Philadelphia and Newark Liberty international airports reopened with limited service after two days in which thousands of flights were canceled, leaving travelers stuck for days. New York's
People venturing out for provisions Wednesday found many stores and gas stations open but some long lines. When
It was slow going in many places because traffic signals were out. Officials reminded motorists to treat such intersections as four-way stops. In Bethlehem, police said they would begin an aggressive campaign of citing motorists who violated the practice.
Dennis Curtin, a spokesman for
The company obtained larger generators for the stores in Forks Township,
Curtin said perishables were being preserved in refrigerated trailers and coolers packed with ice, but the law says anything that reaches a temperature above 40 degrees must be discarded.
That was happening Wednesday at the Giant supermarket at Cedar Crest Boulevard and Tilghman Street in South
Meat in display cases was the first to go. Dairy products were next. Employees scanned each item to keep track of the cost to the store.
"It's very stressful," said manager Jeff Pierpont. "It hurts you to see this amount of product thrown away.… That's food that could have made someone happy."
Pierpont said the impact of Sandy is already comparable to that of last year's October snowstorm, when his store was without power for 48 hours and about $140,000 worth of food had to be thrown away. Food losses are covered by insurance, he said.
In Bethlehem, the city's wastewater treatment plant was back online Wednesday. While service wasn't disrupted, the city had to send millions of gallons of untreated sewage into Saucon Creek when the main and backup power feeds failed during the storm.
The city's water and sewer resources director, David Brong, estimated the plant received about 11 million gallons of sewage a day this week — slightly lower than normal because businesses were closed.
Allentown Fire Chief Robert Scheirer said widespread wind damage resulted in more than 60 calls Monday night from residents and business owners with lost or damaged roofs.
In the 600 block of Front Street, wind ripped a roof from an entire row of apartments, and the roof at the city's Mack South Fire Station in the 1900 block of Lehigh Street was also damaged in the storm, Scheirer said.
Few injuries were reported, but five city residents were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a generator they were using inside their home, he said.
Area school districts tried to take a wait-and-see attitude on whether to close for a fourth day. But by later Wednesday afternoon, East Penn,
Major hospitals stayed open throughout the storm, but there was sporadic activity at outpatient and physician offices related to power outages. Hospital officials asked patients to check their websites for updates on their satellite facilities.
Because schools have been closed and sports teams unable to practice, many high school football games have been moved from Friday to Saturday: Parkland at
Because of power outages and road hazards, Bishop John Barres lifted the obligation for Catholics in the Diocese of Allentown to attend Mass on Thursday, which is All Saints Day. The diocese includes Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties.
Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority bus service resumed Wednesday with buses operating under a normal weekday schedule, or "as normal as possible given the street conditions," with some delays in scheduled route times possible, said authority Planning Director Owen O'Neil. Buses got back on the road with the initial routes at 5:15 a.m.
LANTA service, which covers Lehigh and Northampton counties, shut down completely Monday and Tuesday because of the challenging road conditions posed by the storm. The authority's main bus garage in Allentown was without power for about 20 hours till about 1 p.m. Tuesday.
By Wednesday afternoon O'Neil said drivers had encountered no major problems, though some routes fell behind schedule mostly due to long lines of traffic at major intersections with non-functioning traffic signals.
"Some of them get pretty backed up," he said. Overall though, "It's been pretty smooth so far."
Met-Ed: 1-888-544-4877; http://www.firstenergycorp.com
PPL: 1-800-342-5775; http://www.pplelectric.com
Northampton County Emergency Management: http://www.nc911.org
Lehigh County Emergency Management: ema.lehighcounty.org
Pennsylvania state government: http://www.readypa.gov
Agricultural Hall, Allentown
ICE AND WATER LOCATIONS
PPL is providing up to three10-pound bags of ice and three gallons of water daily; residents should tell cashiers they are PPL customers and also should check PPL's website, pplelectric.com periodically because the list of stores with supplies may change.
Weis Markets, 365 S. Cedar Crest Blvd, Allentown; 1500 N. Cedar Crest Blvd, South Whitehall Township; 7001 Route 309,
Redner's Market, 1201 Airport Road, Hanover Township;
Wegmans, 3900 Tilghman St., Allentown
J&G Pit Stop, 3888 Main St.,
Weis Market, 2305
Pathmark, Saucon Valley Square, 3691 Raiders Lane Route 378, Lower Saucon Township
Superamericano mi dier, Bethlehem, 226 Third Ave., Bethlehem
Giant, Route 248,
Giant, 1153 N. Fifth St., Perkasie; 1465 W. Broad St., Quakertown
Met-Ed will provide one bag of ice and two gallons of water at no charge for customers without power; available at any Redner's and Redner's Quick Shoppes and select emergency response facilities, though supplies are limited.
Redner's, 2300 Lehigh St., Allentown; 1201 Airport Road, Hanover Township; Redner's, Trexlertown Plaza, Trexlertown; Redner's, 2180 MacArthur Road, Whitehall
Redner's Quick Shoppe, 1135 Airport Road, Hanover Township
Redner's, 3745 Nicholas St., Palmer Township; 101 Held Drive, Northampton
Redner's Quick Shoppe, 33 W. 21st St., Northampton
Redner's Quick Shoppe, 26 Main St., Bally, 3401 Pricetown Road, Fleetwood; 500 Hawk Ridge Drive, Hamburg
Redner's, 701 S. West End Blvd., Quakertown
EMA Center, 100 Gypsum Road, Stroudsburg
•Lehigh County Authority customers may fill up water jugs or buckets at the Emmaus Fire Company on Sixth Street in Emmaus, or pick up three gallons of water and two bags of ice at the Kings Market in Schnecksville.
WATER BOIL ADVISORY
Lehigh County Authority is advising these communities to boil water before drinking or cooking with it or to use bottled water: