Virginia Storms 2012: Derecho Leaves Thousands Without Power

07/02/2012 09:21 am ET | Updated Sep 01, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than 462,000 electricity customers in Virginia remain without service following severe storms that killed at least seven people in the state.

Dominion Virginia Power, which is a unit of Dominion Resources Inc., says power is expected to be restored to up to 85 percent of its affected customers by Tuesday night.

More than 248,000 Dominion customers remain without power, mostly in northern Virginia. Appalachian Power says more than 240,000 of its customers are without service. More than 12,000 customers of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative also remain with power.

In western Virginia, some medical facilities were still out of commission or working on generator power.

Carilion Giles Community Hospital in Pearisburg is running on generator power and several of Carilion's outpatient clinics in other localities remained closed, spokesman Eric Earnhart said.

Two outpatient clinics operated by the Salem VA Medical Center in Lynchburg and Staunton are closed Monday because of power outages.

In Bedford, Thomas Jefferson's retreat at Poplar Forest remained open throughout the weekend despite losing power, which was restored Monday. Visitors were tolerant of the heat and had access to water, president Lynne Beebe said. The staff used Jefferson's system to cool the eight-sided house.

"He had designed the house so you would keep cool or comfortable in the summer by manipulating opening and closing of windows and opening and closing of shutters," Beebe said. "You have to manipulate the windows and the blinds to make his system work. It did."

Beebe said Poplar Forest's July 4 celebration will be held as planned.

Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency after Friday night's storms that downed trees and power lines across Virginia.

Appalachian Power, which is a unit of American Electric Power Co., says more storms on Sunday caused additional outages in the Wytheville and Woodlawn areas.

The utilities expect to restore power to all customers by the end of the week.

As temperatures climbed again into the 90s, several cities opened cooling centers and handed out ice to residents who lacked air conditioning or refrigeration during the extended outage.

In Richmond, a steady stream of residents pulled up to a truck parked at a local fire station and helped themselves to 20-pound bags of ice. City employees said they were handing them out to everyone, no questions asked.

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