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Power outages widespread in the Poconos

MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TWP., MONROE COUNTY (WOLF) -- Many people in Monroe County are still in the dark tonight after an intense storm ripped through the Poconos yesterday.

One of the hardest hit areas is Middle Smithfield Township.

The parking lot of this grocery store along Route 209 in Middle Smithfield Township sat empty this afternoon.

Its unable to open because of a massive power outage following strong storms that barreled through this region Tuesday.

They left tons of damage behind, knocking down trees and utility poles.

Met-ed says of the nearly 13,000 customers still without power in Monroe County -- more than 6,000 of those are in Middle Smithfield Township.

"For those without power, we're trying to help them out as much as we can," Kevin Dixon, the township's Emergency Management Coordinator, said.

The Whispering Pines Banquet Hall was without power until about noon today, but after the power came back on, township supervisors and emergency management opened it to the public from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. so people could take hot showers, charge their electronic devices, and use the internet.

"Oh my God, it was awful. We had a huge tree come down in our yard. We were out yesterday, there were trees, wires everywhere. It was like -- you couldn't get through the roads yesterday. Even today a lot of the roads were still closed," Diane Vitale, of Middle Smithfield Twp., said.

Vitale came right over to take advantage of the showers.

She's been through this before.

Her power was knocked out for nearly five days after another strong storm back in March.

"I can't believe it. We've been up here for 21 years and this is probably like the fourth time, but twice in the last couple of months so yeah its getting a little much now."

Jamal Fraser and his friends also came to the banquet hall to take showers and charge their cell phones.

"Great to know that I can come here and there's a place where I can get all my stuff done and hang out with my friends still," Fraser, of Middle Smithfield Twp., said.

Officials plan to open the hall to the public again tomorrow morning and keep it open until around 5 o'clock.

Fraser hopes he won't have to make use of its services for much longer.

"I'm just hoping that the trucks can get up and running as soon as possible and get all these lines back up and running."

Met-ed says they estimate people here will have their power restored by Saturday night.

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