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Thousands Without Power As D.C. Recovers From Storm

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By LAUREN SAUSSER Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) Thousands of residents in the Mid-Atlantic region were still without power Friday morning after powerful storms swept through the area a day earlier.

More than 100,000 residents lost power after thunderstorms battered the region Thursday. Pepco said it had restored power to some 80,000 customers by midmorning Friday, but many were still in the dark, primarily in Montgomery County, Md.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley asked the Maryland Public Service Commission to investigate why Pepco is having so many outages for such long durations. It took days for Pepco to restore power last week after another storm battered the area.

Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey said the utility company will cooperate with any investigation.

"People are experiencing this back to back," he said.

"These are violent storms that rip up the system every time. We have to rebuild the system each and every time."

Pepco expects most residents to have power restored by midnight Friday.

Scattered showers are expected to continue over the weekend, but the weather will pale in comparison to the severe storms that swept through Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

On Friday morning, 30 traffic signals were still without power in Montgomery County, the hardest hit of the Washington suburbs. Several county parks and roads remained closed because of downed trees and power outages.

In Washington, crews focused on clearing downed trees one day after the storms.

Fewer than 2,000 Baltimore-area residents lacked power Friday morning, down from more than 30,000 at the height of the outages, BGE said.

In northern Virginia, about 3,800 Dominion Virginia customers had no power Friday morning.

No storm-related deaths were reported in the region. Senior Meteorologist Howard Silverman of the National Weather Service said the record-high temperatures in the Washington area can claim a role in the violent storm season.

"It is typical to have severe summer thunderstorms each year," Silverman said. "Thunderstorms are a way the earth redistributes the heat."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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