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US Storms Kill 12, Millions Remain Without Power

  • VOA News

A power company worker surveys damage to overhead power lines on Canal Road in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2012, following an overnight storm in the area.
Violent storms that tore through the eastern United States late Friday have left at least 12 people dead and more than 3 million without power.

The storms hit the region amid a record heat wave, uprooting trees, knocking down power lines. Emergencies have been declared in Washington, along with four states - Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.

The State of Emergency declaration typically gives governors the option of activating National Guard troops, and lets them use resources to support the safety of citizens.

Six deaths were reported in Virginia, two in New Jersey, two in Maryland and one each in Ohio and Kentucky - most the result of fallen trees.

Widespread power outages spanned the region, with officials saying it could be days before all electricity is restored.

Many of the outages were centered in the U.S. capital and surrounding areas, where broken tree branches littered the streets. Some residents are under mandatory water restrictions.

The Washington area power company - Potomac Electric Power Company, or PEPCO - says it could be a week before power is restored to some 378,000 customers in the nation's capital and the suburban Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George's. A company spokesperson says at the height of the outages Friday night, 443,000 customers were without electricity.

The spokesperson said late Saturday the company has 800 crew members working around the clock to restore service, and the company expects several dozen more crews from Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma to arrive by Monday to help restore service.

Temperatures in Washington reached a record 40 degrees Celsius Friday. Continued extreme temperatures Saturday prompted officials of golf's AT&T National just outside Washington to suspended play for several hours. Extreme heat is expected again Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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