Dominion Virginia Power is working to restore electricity to more than 900,000 customers in Virginia after hurricane-like storms fueled wind gusts as high as 80 miles an hour across a large portion of the state Friday, causing widespread power outages, the company said.
Dominion cautioned that the heat wave gripping much of the East Coast, including Virginia, will lengthen restoration efforts.
The storm, which stretched from Indiana to Virginia and effected much of the East Coast, is being blamed for at least 10 deaths, according to ABC News.
With triple-digit temperatures and high humidity expected for the next several days, Dominion is urging all residents - especially the elderly and young children -- to take precautions and seek relief at cooling shelters, public libraries or similar facilities if appropriate, Rodney Blevins, vice president of electric distribution operations for Dominion, said. We will restore power as quickly and safely as possible in these challenging conditions.
While the company said 900,000 customers are without power, a summary of the outages on the Dominion website showed 635,186 Dominion customers had no electrical power as of 2:34 p.m. EST. That number continues to go down. You can get a live update on the situation by Dominion here.
Northern Virginia was most affected by the hurricane-like storms, with 407,949 Dominion customers without power out of 831,912 customers served by the electric company, or roughly 49 percent of all Dominion customers in the area.
In the Shenandoah Valley/Western Piedmont area of the state, 58.6 percent of Dominion customers were without power, or 107,101 customers out of 182,636 customers served by the company.
The Richmond metropolitan area and the Tri-Cities region had 87,936 Dominion customers without power.
The southern part of Virginia and a portion of North Carolina served by Dominion also experienced outages, although not on as large a scale as those in northern Virginia.
Dominion urged that customers with special needs, such as the elderly and ill people without air conditioning, should be checked on frequently as the area experiences high heat and humidity.
The power company said it was working to restore service caused by the storm, which downed trees and power lines in an area stretching from Indiana through Ohio and Virginia.
Blevins advised those affected by the storm to stay away from downed lines and report them to 1-866-DOM-HELP.
We also ask that you help protect our linemen when you see them on the roadside making emergency repairs by moving over from the lane nearest the workers or by slowing down until you pass the site of the repairs, he said.
There were reports of at least two deaths in Abermale County, Va., related to the storm, according to the Staunton News Leader.
The paper, citing multiple reports, said power outages in Virginia were estimated at 2 million homes.
The Associated Press reported a third storm-related death in northern Virginia.
The storm led Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to declare a state of emergency.
In a statement, McDonnell urged patience as the state tries to repair damage from the storm.
The widespread power outage caused by last night's storms, combined with forecasted triple-digit high temperatures for the next several days, have created a dangerous situation for many Virginians, McDonnell said. Older Virginians, infants and those who have medical conditions are especially at risk for heat related injuries. Please check on your neighbors, friends and family members and make sure they have a cool place to stay. It will take several days to restore all power so Virginians should plan accordingly. This is not a one day situation; it is a multi-day challenge.
Dominion noted that the storm is also affected telephone lines and urged customers to keep calling the company's number if they encounter problems. The 1-866-DOM-HELP number can also be used to receive updates on the company's efforts to restore power and report outages as well as reporting downed power lines.