583K Still Have No Power After Ice Storm

And some may have to wait for weekend to get it back

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 6, 2014 8:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Utility crews were working feverishly to restore power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Pennsylvania and surrounding states that were still in the dark and cold today after an ice storm knocked out electricity to more than a million customers, damage one official likened to that from a hurricane. What made this storm—the Northeast's second of the week—stand out, and caused all those outages, was the thick coating of ice it left on trees and power lines. At its height, the storm knocked out power to nearly 849,000 customers in Pennsylvania, most of them in the counties around Philadelphia.

PECO, southeastern Pennsylvania's dominant utility, warned it could be until the weekend before the lights come back on for all of its more than 431,000 customers without power this morning. It was the second-worst storm in PECO's history, eclipsed only by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. FirstEnergy was reporting almost 49,000 customers without power, while PPL was reporting more than 20,000. In neighboring Maryland, where 76,000 customers were in the dark, power companies gave a restoration estimate of tomorrow. More than 7,000 New Jersey customers also lacked electricity. Officials pleaded with people not to use generators or gas grills indoors after 20 to 25 people in the Philadelphia area were taken to hospitals with carbon monoxide poisoning. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also warned yesterday that an overnight refreeze could cause more problems on the roads today.

David Sarja clears the sidewalk in front of the Lutheran Healthdcare Center in Worcester, Mass on Wednesday Feb. 5, 2014.   (Worcester Telegram & Gazette/Christine Peterson/staff)
Robert Tiu of Providence RI, front, sits in the bucket while Roy Powers of Southbridge, Mass. applies calcium to the sidewalk along Church Street in Worcester, Mass. on Wednesday Feb. 5, 2014.   (Worcester Telegram & Gazette Tom Rettig staff)
A man inspects an ice covered downed tree that took out an utility line and landed atop a minivan, after a winter storm Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Philadelphia.   (Matt Rourke)
Amur tigers at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan., play with a snowman created for them on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.   (Jaime Green)
While Lauren Berthiaume, right, shovels her sidewalk, her 17-month-old daughter Rylie Bartusek prefers eating the snow, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Worcester, Mass.   (Steve Lanava)
Falling limbs from a tall oak tree damaged a home in Frederick, Md., after Wednesday's, Feb. 5, 2014, ice storm.   (Sam Yu)
Audie Chaney checks on his camper Wednesday morning, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. "My doors are frozen," Chaney said. "I got them loose. I haven't check my truck yet."   (John Dunham)
Icicles cling to the McJohnson Avenue street sign ,Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Owensboro, Ky.   (John Dunham)
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