Storm Victims Without Power Struggle to Keep Cool

By Samantha Kramer, Staff Writer
July 02, 2012; 6:49 PM
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Power lines are down across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic after winds sped up to 90 mph during Friday night's storm. (Photo courtesy of Twitter user @Smoflake88)

For ice cream vendors selling frozen treats and cold water on the beaches near Atlantic City, N.J., it's a great day for business.

Thousands flocked to the beach Saturday to escape the heat after a super derecho knocked out the power of more than three million people across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions.

James Diecidue, who sells ice cream along the beach in Margate City, N.J., said the beaches are extremely crowded. Many of his customers keep asking him if the city has regained power yet.

"A lot of people are buying water and ice cream here because a lot of people still don't have power at home," he said.

Read also: "Derecho" of Power Storms Slam 700 Miles of the U.S.

While those affected by the storm along the coast have the option to cool down with an ocean minutes away, other areas aren't so lucky.

Authorities in non-coastal regions have had to think of other ways to keep their community cool in this weekend's scorching temperatures.

Prince George's County in Maryland opened cooling centers where local residents without power can refuge from the 100-degree weather that plagued their area today.

Scott Peterson, the county's deputy manager of communications, said they've provided information about where to locate cooling centers through social media and online press releases that people can view with their smart phones if they don't have power.

"We've been going through every means necessary to make sure they know we have places they can go to cool down," Peterson said. "We're highlighting what's still open with power in the region like malls and hotels. Everyone's working together."

Emergency Management Coordinator Emily Ashley of Chesterfield County, Va., said the town's local libraries will keep their doors open past normal hours, and though usually closed on Sundays, will also open tomorrow until 6 p.m.

Ashley said dealing with the significant power outages has been difficult because critical buildings that would normally act as a refuge are the ones that are without power.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management also created a Tumblr blog that lists open cooling centers by county, damage reports and power restoration updates.

According to electric companies, it could be a week before power is restored in some areas, especially major cities like Washington, D.C.


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