Nearly 4 million homes and businesses were without power on Saturday amid a record heat wave in the eastern United States after deadly thunderstorms downed power lines from Indiana to New Jersey. At least 13 people were killed.
A pickup truck lies under a fallen tree in front of a house after a severe storm in Falls Church, Virginia, on Saturday. [Agencies]
Forecasters predicted more severe thunderstorms as renewed heat blanketed the area on Saturday.
Temperatures surpassed 37 C in several southern cities, including Atlanta, where the mercury hit 41 C, and Charlotte, North Carolina, where it reached 38 C, according to Accuweather.com.
Restoring power in some areas could take up to a week. Utilities in Ohio and Virginia described damage as catastrophic.
"It's going to be a while before some folks get power, and with the heat, that's our big concern," said Bob Spieldenner, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
More than 1 million Virginia customers had no power in the worst outage not linked to a hurricane in the state's history, he said.
Six people were killed in Virginia in storm-related incidents.
The storm also knocked out Amtrak passenger rail service between Washington and Philadelphia, Amtrak said.
Power companies called in crews from utilities in neighboring states to help restore electricity.
Fire under control
Crews made gains against the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history but kept a wary eye on the weather, which was becoming warmer and drier as National Guard troops were deployed to help local police get things back to normal.
The 42-km Waldo Canyon fire was 45 percent contained by Saturday afternoon. It was one of many burning across the West, including eight in Utah and a fast-growing blaze in Montana that forced residents in several small communities to leave.
About 1,200 personnel and six helicopters were fighting the Waldo Canyon fire, and authorities said they were confident they had built good fire lines in many areas to stop flames from spreading.
"Crews made progress all around the fire,"' said Incident Commander Rich Harvey, who was cautiously optimistic. "The fire potential is still very, very high. It's extreme and explosive."
Two bodies were found in the ruins of one house, one of almost 350 destroyed in this city 96 km south of Denver. The victims' names haven't been released. Police Chief Pete Carey said on Saturday afternoon that approximately 10 people who had been unaccounted for had now been located.
Police did not expect to discover other victims in the rubble.
More than 150 National Guard soldiers and airmen helped Colorado Springs police staff roadblocks and patrol streets. Carey said on Saturday the presence of military personnel will allow his department to resume normal police work in the rest of the city.
About 10,000 people remain evacuated, down from more than 30,000 at the fire's peak.
The mood was light as evacuees filtered back into an unscathed neighborhood of winding streets and split-level homes within an easy walk of the burned area.