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Thousands still without power in Isabel’s aftermath

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Nearly a week after Hurricane Isabel muscled its way ashore, thousands of East Coast residents were still without power — their troubles compounded by a second round of storms.

At least 40,000 customers lost power in Virginia, some for the second time in a week, when tornadoes touched down in the Richmond area Tuesday, part of a weather system that also caused damage in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

As of Wednesday evening, about 440,000 customers in Virginia and North Carolina were still without power, and volunteers continued to make the rounds with food and water.

“There are pockets of indigent people, pockets of elderly people who can’t really get around,” said Heather Livingston, executive director of the Hampton Roads, Va., chapter of the Red Cross.

She said volunteers are “frustrated. We’re all tired. We’re doing the best we can.”

No serious injuries were reported from the latest round of storms. Isabel has been blamed for at least 40 deaths, 25 of them in Virginia.

Yesterday, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner surveyed hurricane-ravaged counties and briefly helped volunteers in Smithfield hand out hot meals to residents lined up for free food, ice and water.

Officials said it would cost at least $625 million to fix Isabel’s damage in Virginia alone.

Tuesday’s violent weather in Maryland added 50,000 customers without power to the more than 131,000 still in the dark since Isabel, utility officials said.

Thousands more lost power in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but nearly all had it restored by late yesterday.

John Thomas was at his home in Narberth, Pa., Tuesday when a tornado touched down nearby.

“I thought I was going to take off like Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz,”‘ said the 69-year-old Thomas. “I have a big tree out front and it was bending and I thought, ‘Wow, that baby’s gone.”‘


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