Hurricane brings 3 more deaths to Lehigh Valley; 41,000 regain power in 1 day; 160,000 still in dark
The Lehigh Valley impact of Hurricane Sandy intensified Wednesday with the reports of two more storm-related deaths.

Also on Wednesday, 41,000 of the region's homes and businesses that lost power in the storm had electricity restored. But about 160,000 PPL and Met-Ed customers remained without power in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

A Lower Macungie Township woman died from the fumes from a portable gas generator left running in the garage attached to her home, and a South Whitehall Township woman died from exposure in her yard, according to the Lehigh County coroner's office.

PPL spokesman Joe Nixon said the utility expects to have everyone's power back by Sunday night, but according to the utility's website, some areas, including parts of Bethlehem and Williams Township, can expect power to be back on tonight.

Once key public health and safety customers are back online, Nixon said the utility prioritizes its restoration efforts based on the complexity of the repair job and the number of customers it will restore.

"We look to repair the damage that will have the biggest impact first," he 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."

Nixon said PPL is trying to repair 3,300 problems over a 10,000 square mile area.

The Valley's hurricane death toll rose to four. Tammy Kerosetz, 48, of the 3600 block of Schoeneck Road, was pronounced dead in her home 5:08 p.m. Tuesday of carbon monoxide poisoning, but the coroner's office she died before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Theresa Schlitzer, 86, was found dead in the yard of her home in the 3400 block of Route 309 Tuesday morning.

She was pronounced dead at 9:45 a.m., and the coroner's office attributed her death to hypothermia from prolonged exposure that began some time after 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Julia Gravatt, who watches her grandchildren next door, said Schlitzer lived alone and probably went outside to check on something because she took care of her property herself.

"She was an independent woman," said Gravatt. "I saw her just about a week ago on a big John Deere [lawn mower]."

Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim said Schlitzer had no injuries from a fall.

Their deaths bring the Lehigh Valley area's death toll from Hurricane Sandy to four.

Robert Mills, 17, of Wind Gap, died in Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest after crashing an all-terrain vehicle into a fallen tree on W. Center Street in Plainfield Township 9:30 p.m. Monday, and a 62-year-old Berks County man, Gerald Witman, was killed when a tree fell on his Pike Township home near Boyertown.

At least three other people in Pennsylvania suffered storm-related deaths Monday, and the U.S. death toll rose has risen to 50, according to officials.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy ranged from inconvenient for those who had to scramble for find hot coffee to life-threatening for those who depend on electrical medical devices.

Even for those who didn't lose electricity, didn't suffer property damage, didn't lose a loved one, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, won't be forgotten.

Gov. Tom Corbett said the state had "dodged a bullet" despite the massive power outages, nine reported deaths and damage to buildings from wind and water.