Over a million homes on the east coast of the US were without electricity for the second day on Sunday due to a thunderstorm that hit the region Friday night.
At least 13 people were reported killed by trees flung by winds of up to 100 kmph on overhead electricity lines, homes and cars. Power outages also affected trains and internet connections.
Authorities have said it could take up to seven days to restore power supply to every home affected. Their first priority was to restore supply to hospitals and other emergency services.
Rising temperatures added to the troubles, with June 30 reporting a record high for this time of the month. And even warmer days are forecast.
The thunderstorm was described as a “Derecho”, a fast-moving formation similar to tornadoes but differing in the way it travels — straight ahead. Authorities in Maryland, which was hit hard, have opened “cooling centres” — air-conditioned schools and community centers — for people to move into.
Others sought refuge in malls and movie theaters, which reported unprecedented footfalls over the weekend, usually busiest shopping days of the week. But for some it was not an unfamiliar experience. “Feels like home,” tweeted Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Sherry Rahman. She followed that with sever through the weekend.
Pakistan has experienced crippling power cuts in recent months. Air travel into the affected region is not affected.
But train travel was. AP reported about 220 passengers were switched to buses in Western Virginia from a stranded train for the remaining part of the journey.