(AP) – Millions are staring down the prospect of several more days without electricity in the middle of a heat wave after severe storms over the weekend.
Food is beginning to spoil, and many people have to charge modern conveniences like cellphones in their cars or at libraries. Utility companies say they are bringing in crews from around the country to help, but they still say it could be several days before everyone has electricity again.
By Sunday evening, the number of those without power had dipped to about 2.7 million customers, down from more than 3 million at the peak of the outages.
Authorities have confirmed at least 17 deaths related to the storms that swept across the eastern U.S. Deaths have been reported in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Kentucky and Ohio.
About 545,000 were without power in Maryland; 643,000 in Virginia; 318,000 in Washington, D.C., and some surrounding areas; 600,000 in Ohio; 460,000 in West Virginia; and 122,000 in New Jersey.
By Sunday night, just under 2.7 million people were sweltering through a second day of extreme heat, with temperatures approaching or exceeding 100 degrees in many areas. Forecasters are warning people to stay inside, avoid direct sun and drink plenty of fluids.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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