Friday afternoon saw thousands of Lehigh Valley and northwestern New Jersey homes without power.
Met-Ed and PPL Electric Utilities blamed the disruptions on a cold front that brought high winds and plummeting temperatures.
Around 2 p.m., PPL reported 3,755 outages in Lehigh County and 3,351 in Northampton County, Met-Ed 39 and 354 in Northampton, and JCP&L 914 and 1,247 in Warren and Hunterdon counties.
By 5:30 p.m., PPL reported 4,843 outages in Lehigh County and 4,029 in Northampton County, Met-Ed 41 and 3,338 in Northampton County, and JCP&L 5,212 and 2,680 in Warren and Hunterdon counties, respectively.
According to the National Weather Service’s official climate summary for Dec. 23, 2022, temperatures dropped 42 degrees from a high of 57 at 4:16 a.m. to a low of 15 at 3:59 p.m., with persistent westerly wind speeds of 32 mph, an average wind speed of 19 mph, and the highest gust at 45 mph.
The weather service stated in a winter weather advisory issued Friday afternoon and in effect until 1 p.m. Saturday for the Lehigh Valley: “For the Winter Weather Advisory, snow has ended but the main concern now is icy conditions due to the re-freezing of wet surfaces as temperatures continue to plummet. Wind chill advisory, very chilly. 20-below wind chills.”
“Expect slippery roads,” the caution advised. “Dangerous circumstances may affect the evening commute. Wind chills can induce frostbite in 30 minutes.
Power companies advised people to presume a downed line is powered and stay clear when reporting it. FirstEnergy Corp.’s Met-Ed and JCP&L advised calling 911, while PPL advised 800-342-5775.
The National Weather Service predicted Friday temperatures at Lehigh Valley International Airport outside Allentown to drop to approximately 5. West winds of 20–25 mph gusting up to 40 mph and wind chill values as low as minus-17 degrees Fahrenheit were predicted.
The meteorological service predicts a 37-degree high at LVIA on Wednesday.
After a crash on Limeport Pike in Upper Saucon Township, emergency radio transmissions reported wires down across the Lehigh Valley Friday afternoon.
Railroad Avenue in Upper Mount Bethel Township and Black River Road in Lower Saucon Township has downed lines. A tree fell along Hollo Road and Nazareth Pike in Lower Nazareth Township at about 2:25 p.m.
Palmer Township police said on Facebook that weather-related power disruptions had closed the Palmer Park Mall two days before Christmas.
Easton Wine Project at Silk in Easton also closed early Friday due to a power outage.