East Coast braces for monster ‘Frankenstorm’

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Eastern states that saw outages that lasted for days after last year’s freak Halloween snowstorm and Hurricane Irene are already pressuring power companies to be more ready this time.

Asked if he expected utilities to be more prepared, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick responded: “They’d better be.”

Jersey Central Power & Light, which was criticized for its response to Irene, notified employees to be ready for extended shifts. In Pennsylvania, PPL Corp. spokesman Michael Wood said, “We’re in a much better place this year.”

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday said the city was striking a tone of calm preparedness.

“What we are doing is we are taking the kind of precautions you should expect us to do, and I don’t think anyone should panic,” Bloomberg said. The city has opened an emergency situation room and activated its coastal storm plan.

Some have compared the tempest to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but that one hit a less populated area. Nor is this one like last year’s Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowfall.

“The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I’m thinking a billion” this time, Masters said. “Yeah, it will be worse.”

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Associated Press writers Tony Winton in Miami, Fernando Gonzalez in Cuba, Ken Thomas on Air Force One, Michael Rubinkam in Harrisburg, Pa., Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., and Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this report.

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Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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