Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 1:54 PM
Violent evening storms following a day of triple-digit temperatures wiped out power to more than 2 million people across the eastern United States and caused two fatalities in Virginia — including a 90-year-old woman asleep in bed when a tree slammed into her home, a police spokeswoman said Saturday.
Widespread power outages were reported from Indiana to New Jersey, with the bulk of the service interruptions concentrated on Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. Earlier Friday, the nation’s capital reached 104 degrees — topping a record of 101 set in 1934.
More than 20 elderly residents at an apartment home in Indianapolis were displaced when the facility lost power due to a downed tree. Most were bused to a Red Cross facility to spend the night, and others who depend on oxygen assistance were given other accommodations, the fire department said.
The storms, sometimes packing 70 mph winds, toppled three tractor trailers on Interstate 75 near Findlay, Ohio.
Fallen trees were blamed on both deaths in Springfield, Va.
Besides the 90-year-old woman, who authorities didn’t identify pending notification of kin, a man driving his car was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities identified him as Khiet Nguyen, 27, of Burke, Va.
In addition, a park police officer was injured by an uprooted tree in the northern Virginia county, and an 18-year-old man was struck by a power line, Jennings said. He was in stable condition after receiving CPR, she said.
"Our officers and firefighters are out there with power saws, trying to clear the streets," Jennings said.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency after more than 500,000 customers in 27 counties were left without electricity.
At least four utility poles fell on a road in Columbus, Ohio, making it too dangerous for people in four cars to get out, police said. One person was taken to a hospital.
As of 1 a.m. Saturday, Pepco was reporting 406,000 outages in the District of Columbia and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, Md.
"We have more than half our system down," said Pepco spokeswoman Myra Oppel. "This is definitely going to be a multi-day outage."
Amtrak suspended its service from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia due to the storms, at least until mid-morning.
In the Washington, D.C., area, the Metrorail subway trains were returned to their endpoints due to the storms and related damage, officials said.
"It has had a widespread effect on the region," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said early Saturday. He said about 17 train stations were operating on backup power due to local power outages, but that he didn’t anticipate service being disrupted on Saturday.
Associated Press writer Norman Gomlak in Atlanta and Rebecca Miller in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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