Thursday, November 1, 2012

Things to Know, Ways to Help After 'Superstorm' Sandy

As Easton and the Easton area begins to pick up after "superstorm" Sandy, it's clear that damage is widespread.

Many residents and businesses, as well as several municipal offices are still without power, despite MetEd's efforts to restore service, which makes it hard in many cases to obtain information.

Here are some things those in the Easton area may find useful to know:

Power restoration efforts

At about noon on Thursday, there were 6,312 locations without power in the City of Easton, 1,542 in Wilson Borough, 1,633 in Williams Township, 1,562 in Forks Township, 4,597 in Palmer Township, 489 in West Easton and 45 in Glendon.

While it may not be much comfort for those still without service, these numbers are an improvement over the original numbers--about a quarter of those in the local area who originally lost power have seen it restored.

MetEd/First Energy has announced it is likely the majority of customers in the Easton area will see their electric service restored by the end of Friday, with the remainder getting power back by Monday, November 5.

Additionally, the company says:
"FirstEnergy utilities have restored service to more than 820,000 of the 2.2 million customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland that were impacted by devastating Hurricane Sandy, which swept through the region early this week.

More than 14,100 linemen, hazard responders, forestry workers, call center representatives, management and support personnel are currently working around the clock to restore service to affected customers. The workforce includes approximately 11,200 from all 10 FirstEnergy utilities and support groups and nearly 2,900 contractors and other utility company personnel. Additional resources are expected as they become available.

As of 6 p.m. (Wednesday)...117,000 of 268,000 Met-Ed customers impacted by the storm remain without power. Restoration efforts are nearing completion today in the York area. Ninety-five percent of Met-Ed's customers are expected to be restored by this weekend, with the remainder restored early next week."

Thursday evening:
Power was restored to the remainder most of the city's Downtown district a little after 8 p.m.. About 2,000 customers were restored to service on Thursday, bringing the number without service to 4,168.

At 9 p.m. Thursday evening for most of the greater Easton area, substantial progress had been made by MetEd crews. In Palmer Township there were 4,303 locations without power, 1,290 in Forks Township, 1,483 in Wilson, 483 in West Easton and only 7 in Glendon.

In Williams Township where a number of roads are still blocked and closed, the number of those without service had grown to 1,804, probably due to more trees falling into electrical wires.

As of about 3 p.m. on Friday:
It is being reported that residents of the Harlan and Walter senior housing complex at the corner of Washington and South Fourth streets still have not had power restored, which is likely a significant hardship for the elderly population there. The two high rise buildings continue to run on backup generators, but it seems that is not enough to run the elevators or heat and lights at full power.

Power was restored to the Harlan and Walter senior housing buildings early afternoon, after running on backup generators for most of the week, according to Easton Mayor Sal Panto.

Several hundred more Wilson customers have gotten power back, bringing the number in the borough without down to 525.

Glendon is nearly fully restored, with only 8 locations being reported by MetEd as being still without power.

The utility company has repeatedly stated they hope to make inroads towards having a substantial number of customers' service in Easton and the Easton area restored by this evening.

At 6 p.m. on Friday:
MetEd seemed to make some progress in getting power restored to more areas in the City of Easton and the surrounding suburbs today, with approximately 3,300 more in the local area now having working electrical service.

The company is reporting at this time that still without power are: 2,332 locations in the City of Easton, 466 in Wilson Borough, 2,836 in Palmer, 963 in Forks, 1,567 in Williams Township, 51 in West Easton, and 7 in Glendon.

Williams Township still has a number of roads that are unpassable due to downed trees and entangled wires, which may be hampering progress there.

As of 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3:
MetEd seems to be making further progress in restoring power to Easton area residents, but there are still many without service.

Progress in Williams Township seems to be hampered by a number of trees entangled in downed wires, with the number of unpassable roads still unchanged since yesterday.

An anecdotal report from one resident indicated that a few customers were restored to service briefly, only to lose electricity again a short time later. For most others, the situation has remained unchanged, and they are without not only electricity, but running water too, as many rely on private wells.

Some in West Easton and Glendon have also reportedly had service restored, only to lose it again, presumably due to newly downed trees snapping wires.

MetEd reports that the number of locations still without power at this time are: 1,127 in the City of Easton, 1,381 in Williams Township, 497 in Forks Township, 2,029 in Palmer, 354 in Wilson Borough, 51 in West Easton, and 19 in Glendon.

Most areas in the West Ward and Southside neighborhoods, as well as all areas of Downtown Easton now have power, though a few in Southside and a few sections of College Hill are still out of service.
The utility company has stated that it hopes to have service restored to 95 percent of its customers by the end of today, but it is unclear at this point if they will reach that goal in the local area.

MetEd has also stated that it intends to have service completely restored in Easton by the end of the day on Monday, Nov  5 and the remainder of customers back in service by the end of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 7. It is unclear whether "Easton" in their statement includes the suburbs or not, and calls to the company's media representative for clarification have not been returned.

There are a few shelters in the City of Easton and the Easton area currently available for those without power who need to warm up, get a hot meal and/or charge electronic devices.

As of Sunday, Nov. 4, 1:45 p.m.:
Still without power are: 763 locations in the City of Easton, 866 in Williams Township, 140 in Wilson Borough, 455 in Palmer Township, 498 in Forks Township, 47 in West Easton, and 19 in Glendon.

In the city, West Ward residents south of Northampton Street reported their power was restored sometime around noon on Saturday. Traffic and street lights that had been out in that section and along Northampton Street are now functioning again as well.

Both the Easton and Wilson Area school districts have announced that school will be in session on Monday. Depending on road conditions and whether or not power is restored to Williams Elementary School by then, Wilson may institute temporary bus stops for some, and Williams Elementary students may attend classes at the middle school. Parents should check for updates.

Early on Monday, Nov. 5, shortly after midnight:
Progress in restoring power to the area continues, though there are still 565 locations in the City of Easton without power, 829 in Williams Township, 454 in Palmer, 174 in Forks, and 111 in Wilson Borough.

West Easton, with less than five customers without service, and Glendon, with six, are nearly fully repaired.

MetEd has repeatedly stated since "superstorm" Sandy struck that they repair problems that will put back on line most customers first, after having fixed damage to the system's infrastructure and critical sites (such as nursing homes and hospitals), which indicates that as service restoration gets closer to completion, the number of people whose service is restored by each individual site repair is likely to be smaller.

The company is currently stating that they hope to have the vast majority of their customers back in service by the end of Monday, with the job complete by the end of Wednesday. They've added that crews are working 16-hour per day shifts, and will continue to do so until the emergency situation is over.

On Monday, Nov. 5, approx. 6 p.m.:
MetEd has made more progress restoring service to Easton area customers. Numbers of those without service now stand at: 416 in the City of Easton, 639 in Williams Township, 113 in Wilson Borough, 323 in Palmer Township, 134 in Forks Township, and 5 or less each in Glendon and West Easton.

A few customers are reportedly experiencing spotty electrical service, having had power restored only to lose it again a short time later. This seems to be due to some branches and trees still falling into power lines.

MetEd has issued a statement today saying that around-the-clock efforts continue to restore service to all, but that in the Easton area the job may not be complete until the end of Tuesday.

On Monday, Nov. 5, approx. 9:30 p.m.:
Further progress in restoring the area seems to being made. The total of locations now without service stands at: 212 in the City of Easton, 275 in Williams Township, 81 in Wilson Borough, 314 in Palmer, 140 in Forks, and 5 or less each in Glendon and West Easton.

MetEd has asked that all still without power call 888-544-4877 to ensure that their residences are in the system.

In the City of Easton

"City Planning and Codes Team is making, systematic property damage assessments this week and next. We are here to help. Feel free to flag us down or call into the office 610-250-6726 if there are property damage issues so we can assist."

Updates on storm recovery in the city are being posted on the city's website at

The Easton-Phillipsburg Parade, which had been postponed to Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. has been cancelled. Trick-or-treating is on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 3 to 5 p.m., and there is a "safe trick-or-treating" event hosted by Weed & Seed in Centennial Park, South 12th and Ferry streets at that time too.

Wilson Borough

Wilson's intermediate school gym will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. today,  Thursday, Nov. 1, for residents seeking a hot shower.

While Wilson does not have day shelters set up that we know of, there are four day shelters, along with a 24/7 county shelter in Bethlehem that Wilson and other Easton area residents can make use of to charge devices and warm up.

Williams Township

The township was hard hit with downed trees and wires, and still has a large number of closed roads. Due to a lack of power, the township municipal complex is closed until further notice. but will reopen on Monday, Nov. 5. Their phone and Internet access is still out.

Halloween trick-or-treating has been postponed indefinitely. Residents can check the township website for updates at

Palmer Township

Because of the storm, phones and email at the Palmer Municipal Buillding are out of service. Please contact the Charles Chrin Community Center of Palmer Township at 610-252-2098, and they will direct your question or problem to the proper person.

Trick-or-treating, which had been postponed until Saturday, has been cancelled due to safety concerns. The event is to be rescheduled when conditions improve.

Update, Monday, Nov. 5: Palmer Township has rescheduled trick-or-treating for Saturday, Nov. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Forks Township

The township municipal complex does have power and is open, and the Thursday, Nov. 1 Supervisors workshop meeting set for 7 p.m. will be held as usual.

The Forks fire department station roof was blown off Sunday evening, but no one was injured and the fire department is operating normally, said Township Manager John Cornell.

Trick-or-treating is set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Forks Township is allowing residents to drop off branches, trimmings and twigs at the township's public works site, located behind the garage at 1051 Frost Hollow Road. The site is open 24/7 until further notice. For more details, visit

We will post updates and additional information from West Easton and Glendon as it becomes available.

How to help your neighbors

Mayor Sal Panto of Easton is encouraging any individual that can donate some time, food or drinks to the day shelters at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 330 Ferry St., or to the Salvation Army at 1110 Northampton St. Both of these organizations have been feeding people all week and giving them the opportunity to get warm.

The Center for Animal Welfare does not currently have power, water or phone service. They are seeking donations of water, ice, linens (especially heavier ones, like blankets), paper products and canned cat/dog food of any kind, along with Purina dry food. They also need volunteers to help clear downed branches.

Check their Facebook page for updates and how to contact them to provide assistance. The shelter seems to be open until 4 p.m. currently too, so just dropping off requested supplies seems to be an option, though it's not a good idea if you find them closed.

The Center for Animal Health & Welfare  is located at1165 Island Park Road in Easton/Williams. Their phone does not currently work, but you can try it anyway to see if their service has been restored at 610-252-7722. More information abou the center is located at

Update: The center finally had power restored in the afternoon on Sunday, Nov. 4. However, the animal shelter could still use some donations of cleaning supplies, notably laundry detergent and dish soap, to help with their recovery. Check their Facebook page to see what the current needs are from day to day.

Donate blood

The Red Cross is calling for blood donations, and with the Easton and Allentown Miller-Keystone blood centers being closed due to a lack of power this week, it will surely be appreciated. Call 800-223-6667 or visit to schedule an appointment. There are also two upcoming blood drives in Easton--one at Genesis Bicycles on Friday, Nov. 2 from 3 to 7 p.m. and one at Easton Area High School from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.

Donate food

Those in lower income brackets have suffered doubly from "superstorm" Sandy. Not only have many spent a long, cold week without electricity, which for nearly all has also meant no heat, but many lost the contents of their refrigerators and have been burdened with costs they can ill-afford by having to eat out.

Making a donation of food and/or cash assistance to local food banks and pantries is one good way to help out your neighbors in time of need.

Second Harvest food bank serves several pantries in the Easton area, and donations to this organization are distributed locally. The organization not only takes direct donations, but several local grocery stores allow customers to donate cash at check out.

Two local food pantries that directly serve the Easton area are the interfaith food pantry run by ProJeCt of Easton at St. John's Lutheran Church, 330 Ferry St., and the Easton Area Community Center, 901 Washington St.

For their hours and phone numbers, as well as a complete list of food pantries serving Northampton County that also take donations, please click here.

Last updated on Monday, Nov. 5 at 9:38 p.m.

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