RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State officials have confirmed that the weekend storms in Virginia have left 10 people dead.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said that 500,000 electricity customers still lacked power as of midday Monday, nearly three days after the first wave of storms cut through the state. Utilities have said that it could take the rest of the week to restore power fully, especially in northern and southwest Virginia, which were particularly hard-hit.
McDonnell said the storms caused the largest non-hurricane related power outage in state history. He asked Virginians to protect themselves and look out for others during the high temperatures, especially those who lack air conditioning.
Thirty-six localities have declared emergencies and 27 local emergency operations centers are open to help their area's residents, McDonnell's office said.
As temperatures climbed again into the 90s, several cities opened cooling centers and handed out ice to residents who lacked air conditioning or refrigeration during the extended outage.
In Richmond, a steady stream of residents pulled up to a truck parked at a local fire station and helped themselves to 20-pound bags of ice. City employees said they were handing them out to everyone, no questions asked.
Two of fatalities were in Albemarle County, two in Bedford County, one in Chesapeake, three in Fairfax County, one in Montgomery County and one in Roanoke.
More than 248,000 Dominion customers remain without power, mostly in northern Virginia. Appalachian Power says more than 240,000 of its customers are without service. More than 12,000 customers of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative also remain with power.
In western Virginia, some medical facilities were still out of commission or working on generator power.
Carilion Giles Community Hospital in Pearisburg is running on generator power and several of Carilion's outpatient clinics in other localities remained closed, spokesman Eric Earnhart said.
Two outpatient clinics operated by the Salem VA Medical Center in Lynchburg and Staunton are closed Monday because of power outages.
In Bedford, Thomas Jefferson's retreat at Poplar Forest remained open throughout the weekend despite losing power, which was restored Monday. Visitors were tolerant of the heat and had access to water, president Lynne Beebe said. The staff used Jefferson's system to cool the eight-sided house.
"He had designed the house so you would keep cool or comfortable in the summer by manipulating opening and closing of windows and opening and closing of shutters," Beebe said. "You have to manipulate the windows and the blinds to make his system work. It did."
Beebe said Poplar Forest's July 4 celebration will be held as planned.