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Met-Ed surveys storm damage from air, finds it worse than Irene

Met-Ed surveys storm damage from air; worse than Irene

READING, Pa. - Saturday's unseasonable snowstorm continued to haunt people two days later on Halloween.

"I ride around in my car when I get cold," said Odelia White of Reading, whose entire block near Centre Avenue in Reading was dark Monday.

Tens of thousands of Met-Ed customers in Reading were in the same boat.  Even more were without power around Berks County.

"Our biggest challenge is the trees.  Every road that we want to go down normally has a tree across it right now," explained Scott Surgeoner, Met-Ed spokesman.

Met-Ed crews took to the air to assess the damage by helicopter.

Official word from Met-Ed is that it could be Friday or Saturday before all service is restored.

10/31/11 STORY:  Some may be without power until weekend

"The damage from this storm, the snowstorm, is more significant, more severe than it was during Hurricane Irene," said Surgeoner.

"Hurricane Irene we lost [power] for just about three days.  That was worse because we weren't prepared," said Jamie Freed of Ruscombmanor Twp., Berks Co.

Freed, his wife, Nicole, and their 10 children weren't expecting to use what they learned about extended power outages so soon, but a couple months and 14 inches of snow in their yard later, they were in the dark again Monday. This time, they had a new generator to help heat the house.

They also weren't concerned about battling boredom.

"There's always entertainment with 10 kids," laughed Jaime.

Met-Ed is offering free water and ice to its customers without power.  Any affected customer can go to Giant or Redner's and pick up up to four gallons of water and two bags of ice per day while they wait for power to be restored.

10/31/11 STORY:  Met-Ed provides free water, ice to customers

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the Berks County Chapter of the American Red Cross will be on hand at Reading High School, 13th & Windsor streets in Reading.

Volunteers will have hot meals, showers and cots available to those without electricity.

Showers will be unavailable between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. when school is in session.

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