23/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 05:42

US storm-hit millions lack electricity amid heatwave

Category: Headlines

Published: 2nd Jul 2012 15:38:25

About two million people remain without power in the eastern US following storms that have been blamed for 18 deaths since Friday.

Amid an ongoing heatwave, utilities warn it could take several more days to restore electricity to many households.

With dozens of roads closed, a number of non-emergency government employees were told to work from home.

Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and the District of Columbia declared states of emergency over the weekend.

Power outages persisted on Monday from North Carolina to New Jersey, and as far west as Illinois.

Thousands of people were without power in the metropolitan Washington DC area.

With temperatures topping 100F (37C), many householders have no functioning air conditioning or refrigerators.

Current power outages for Pepco, BGE, Dominion Virginia, and Potomac Edison

Cooling centres are open in Washington DC, Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Arlington County

BBC Weather explains the conditions behind the storm

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's storm response plus video explainer on how to beat the heat

The National Weather Service has a map showing high temperatures for the area on Monday

Bob Ambrosini, who had no power at his home in the Washington DC suburb of Great Falls, told the Washington Post: "I've been living in the swimming pool."

Officials are urging residents to check up on elderly or sick neighbours.

On Monday, the National Weather Service issued heat advisories for 17 US states. High temperatures are forecast throughout the week.

More than 400 traffic lights were still not working in Maryland.

The damage was mostly blamed on a meteorological phenomenon known as a derecho - straight-line winds, buffeted ahead of fast-moving thunderstorms - which struck on Friday night.

Trees falling on homes and cars have been blamed for most of the extreme weather-related deaths.

Among the six killed in Virginia was a 90-year-old woman who was asleep in bed when a tree fell on her home.

Two young cousins camping in New Jersey died when a tree collapsed on their tent. Two others died in Maryland, one in Ohio, one in Kentucky and another in Washington DC.

"People are hanging out in libraries to get away from the heat"

In other fatalities:

Utility workers have been drafted in from as far away as Florida and Oklahoma to help turn the power back on.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley said he would ensure utility companies restored electricity quickly.

"No-one will have his boot further up Pepco's and BGE's backsides than I will," he said on Sunday afternoon, referring to the two main power firms serving the state.

The storm damage also caused online disruption, with Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest services temporarily disabled.

Have you been affected by the storms? Are you involved in the clean-up operation?

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BBC News, 2012. US storm-hit millions lack electricity amid heatwave [Online] (Updated 2nd Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1438153/US-storm-hit-millions-lack-electricity-amid-heatwave [Accessed 23rd Aug 2014]

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