Superstorm Sandy blows into town
The damage from superstorm Sandy can still be seen in communities throughout the Lehigh Valley.
As the storm blew into the community of Catasauqua last Monday evening, it knocked down trees and power lines, causing many in the borough to wait out the storm in the cold and the dark.
Although the residents of Catasauqua were not exempt from the wrath of the storm, borough Police Chief Douglas Kish told The Press through the efforts of emergency management, the borough was able to successfully respond to the after effects of the storm.
"It was well coordinated with emergency management," Kish said.
PPL reported 5,305 customers in Catasauqua were without power. As of Monday, five customers were still without power, PPL said. Catasauqua's population, as of the 2010 census, is 6,436. This means that about 82 percent of the borough's residents were in the dark.
Two shelters were set up and available in the Lehigh Valley region to provide warmth and safety for residents; one at the UGI building, located at 2121 City Line Road, Bethlehem, and the other located at the Lehigh County Agri-plex complex at the Allentown Fairgrounds.
The storm, downgraded from hurricane status to a tropical storm as it made landfall along the New Jersey coast and headed for Pennsylvania, also led to many road closures as public works crews worked to clear downed trees from power lines and roadways.
In Catasauqua on the day after the storm, the closed streets included the 800 block of Bridge Street; Strawberry Street, between Second and Limestone streets; the 800 block of Bethlehem Road; the 200 block of Howertown Road; and Second Street south of Chapel Street.
"Everything should be open now," Kish reported last Wednesday.
Catasauqua Borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder told The Press Monday afternoon power has been restored to the majority of residents in Catasauqua.
The borough of North Catasauqua also sustained wind damage from Sandy. While local weather reports indicated the Lehigh Valley received only about 3 inches of rain, a number of trees were blown down or sustained broken limbs due to the damaging winds.
North Catasauqua officials told The Press preparation for the storm involved fire and police personnel ensuring all emergency equipment was properly functioning. Following the storm, the street department placed barricades and signs where needed and debris was removed from the roadways.
Also, the police department was equipped with additional manpower to respond to calls and patrolled in areas without power.
According to North Catasauqua's Charotin Hose Company website, the fire department responded to two electric-related calls during the storm. One was due to a transformer fire near Fifth and Grove streets and the second call sent fire personnel to Seventh and Penn streets for wires down.
Fire personnel also were dispatched to investigate a utility pole leaning over at Lincoln and Grove streets.
According to North Catasauqua personnel, 1,300 residents lost power throughout the storm. With a population of about 2,850, this means that 46 percent were without power.
The borough office reported Monday that power had by that time been restored to all borough residents.
Roads closed in North Catasauqua included the 400 block of Chapel Street; the 600 to 700 block of Penn Street due to a wire down; and the 100 block of Lincoln Street, closed due to a pole leaning.
PPL reported that 1,272 Hanover Township (Lehigh County) residents were without power after the storm.