A severe thunderstorm struck the Saucon Valley area at around 6:30 p.m. and caused power disruptions, without much warning except for darkening skies to the west.
The storm struck just as a large, well-publicized outdoor event featuring local police, fire and EMS–National Night Out–was under way at Dimmick Park in the borough. Thousands of people were also outside at Musikfest in Bethlehem, where events were temporarily suspended because of the severe weather, according to the Musikfest Facebook page.
The storm produced high winds, heavy rain, loud cracks of thunder and frequent lightning all throughout the area, although the National Weather Service did not issue a severe thunderstorm warning for it.
In a special weather statement issued at 6:20 p.m., the NWS said “a strong thunderstorm was located over Emmaus and Allentown” and was “moving east at 15 mph.” The storm had winds of up to 40 mph and was capable of producing half-inch hail and torrential rain, the weather service said, noting that it might impact locations such as Quakertown, Hellertown, Riegelsville, Glendon, Pleasant Valley, Zionsville, Springtown, Lehigh University, Fountain Hill, Freemansburg, Coopersburg and Richlandtown, among others.
In Hellertown borough, power was knocked out–at least briefly–to hundreds of PPL customers.
According to the company’s outage center map, as of 7 p.m. nearly 500 customers were without power in the borough’s northeast, on both sides of Easton Road, south of High Street and north of Chestnut Street. Crews have been sent to make repairs, with an estimated repair time of 1 a.m., according to the website.
Scattered power outages are being reported elsewhere, throughout Lower Saucon Township, Upper Saucon Township and other parts of southern Lehigh County.
Sirens from firetrucks and ambulances could be heard throughout town as the storm slowly moved through, with many of the vehicles racing east out of town along Friedensville Road.
There have been no reports of storm-related damage to property or injuries as of 7:20 p.m.