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Region hit with Arctic blast of dangerously cold air

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 11 2013 04:03:38 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 04:55:48 PM CST

The deep freeze is on, and temperatures barely made it to the freezing mark in most areas Wednesday.

MOUNT PENN, Pa. -

The deep freeze is on, and temperatures barely made it to the freezing mark in most areas Wednesday.

People woke up to some icy roads, and many workers were forced to spend the day in the bitter cold.

"I got long johns, heavy duty socks and lots of layers," said Kim Morbauch, who works for Flagger Force, a traffic control company.

"All you can pretty much do is put a bunch of layers on and try and keep yourself nice and padded up," said Eric Johnson, who also works for Flagger Force.

Morbauch and Johnson did everything they could just to stay warm. Frigid air is sitting on top of the region's shoulders, and it's not expected to be lifted until this weekend.

Johnson said he was outside at 7 a.m. Wednesday directing traffic as crews fixed gas lines along Perkiomen Avenue in Mount Penn, Berks Co. The morning was dangerously cold, and winter hasn't even officially started.

"Once the sun goes down, everything is going to get much colder, and we wont have that sun to keep us a little warmer," said Johnson.

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Firefighters made quick work of a small electrical fire at B&G Glass on Carbon Street in Reading on Wednesday, but they said the cold weather makes their job harder and more dangerous.

"We deal with a lot of water, so if that hits the roadway we have a chance for that to freeze," said Deputy Chief Sean Hart, Reading Fire Department. "Hydrants also have a tendency to freeze if they've been leaking."

The polar air had Scott Fick Plumbing, Heating and Cooling working around the clock. The phone was ringing off the hook, and crews were out fixing heaters all across the county.

"Typical houses nowadays are keeping them at 62 degrees and they don't realize it's not working until it gets this cold," said Brian Merkel, HVAC service technician.

"You do get used to it after awhile, but there still are bitter cold days you can't get used to," said Johnson.