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D.C. area power outages after storm could last for days

By Donna St. George, Ted Trautman and Mihir Zaveri, Updated: Sunday, July 1, 7:58 AM

The temperature already had pushed past 80 degrees by the time many people rolled from their sweat-soaked beds in the Washington region, facing the third day of a heat wave without the luxury of air conditioning.

The number without power was dropping by the hour — 779,535 at 8:30 a.m., down by almost 10,000 since daybreak — but for many it would be days before the lights and air conditioning returned.

Many roads made impassable by fallen trees and the power lines they took down were reopened by Sunday as crews worked through the night to clean up the tangled aftermath of the storm that struck before midnight Friday.

Temperatures Sunday were forecast to reach close to 100 degrees, continuing a heat streak that began on Friday.

Though some slept in after a night of tossing and turning in the heat, the city’s early-morning pace quickened faster than on a normal Sunday as people struck out in search of food and coffee, an outlet to plug in their phones and lap tops, and a precious haven of cooled air.

Peter Emerzian, 55, started his quest for breakfast two hours earlier on the second day after the storm, arriving at Dunkin Donuts in Rockville at 7 a.m. The line already was out the door.

He waited, taking away four extra large coffees and two breakfast sandwiches for himself and his wife.

“I’m over it,” he said, guessing that he would return to work Monday whether or not he had electricity.

Coping was the only option.

“It was a little tough to adapt to no morning shows,” said Adam Murphy as he and his wife, Erica, watched their children play in the grass as they sipped coffee outside Starbucks in Rockville. Their attempt to heat coffee on the grill outside their powerless home hadn’t been satisfying.

“Not as tasty as this,” Erica said.

Carolyn Stewart’s bad luck compounded with she left the temporary sanctuary of her sister’s house to board a Metro Red Line train. The train car she choose lacked air conditioning.

“It’s awful,” said Stewart, 45, thinking of her home in Landover. “There’s no light in my building, its hot, sticky.”

Daniel Donis, 57, clasped a cup of Starbucks coffee as he waited for a train on a bench at the Friendship heights metro station, clasping a cup of Starbucks coffee. He’d set out to drive to work in his car.

“I drove but saw gas stations didn’t have power,” Donis said. “So I ran out of gas.”

Stephen Roberts was pondering whether to abandon Washington and drive to his brother’s house in Missouri.

“I dealt with it well until about 2 a.m.,” Roberts said, but after that his night turned sleepless. “My imagination runs wild. I heard it might be a week without power.”

Mercy Moi, 30, said he stayed with his girlfriend after losing power at his Georgia Avenue home, but figured within a week he would overstay his welcome.

“After that, it depends on my relatives,” he said.

The region’s three utilities cautioned that broken branches and hanging limbs continued to topple onto power lines, causing blackouts for people who thought they have weathered the storm unscathed.

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