Spc. Megan Pena, left, with the W.Va. National Guard, carries a box of food to a home in Heaters, W.Va., as Austin Hefner, 7, right, Brianna Dunbar, 4, center, and Billy Dunbar Jr., 25, watch Thursday, July 5, 2012. While utility crews continued working to restore power, members of the West Virginia National Guard went door to door with firefighters, police, church groups and others to reach people who were still awaiting help. Residents in the Heaters area have been without power since Friday, June 29, 2012 following a severe storm. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)
Millions are staring down the prospect of several more days without electricity in the middle of a heat wave after severe storms over the weekend.
Food is beginning to spoil, and many people have to charge modern conveniences like cellphones in their cars or at libraries. Utility companies say they are bringing in crews from around the country to help, but they still say it could be several days before everyone has electricity again.
By Sunday evening, the number of those without power had dipped to about 2.7 million customers, down from more than 3 million at the peak of the outages.
Authorities have confirmed at least 17 deaths related to the storms that swept across the eastern U.S. Deaths have been reported in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Kentucky and Ohio.
About 545,000 were without power in Maryland; 643,000 in Virginia; 318,000 in Washington, D.C., and some surrounding areas; 600,000 in Ohio; 460,000 in West Virginia; and 122,000 in New Jersey.
By Sunday night, just under 2.7 million people were sweltering through a second day of extreme heat, with temperatures approaching or exceeding 100 degrees in many areas. Forecasters are warning people to stay inside, avoid direct sun and drink plenty of fluids.