Historic heat wave meets mass power outages

(CBS News) The National Weather Service calls the heat "historic," and for Americans just about everywhere, there is little relief. Temperatures in the 90's and even the 100s have settled in across much of the country.

An incredible 99 new record highs were set in June, compared with only one in June of 2011, and none in June, 2010. To make matters worse right now, roughly 3 million people are still without power following Friday night's powerful storm system.

As utility crews scramble to restore power to 45 percent of the region temperatures flirted with triple digits for the fourth day in a row.

For people like 67-year-old Bob Cole of Arlington, Virginia, the combination of heat and no electricity is life-threatening.

"I'm diabetic, and so we have to keep insulin and I have to eat certain foods and things like that," Bob said.

Fortunately, Bob is able to store his insulin in a neighbor's refrigerator.

With so much damage left over from Friday night's violent storms, utility crews from as far away as New England and Canada have been asked to help out.

In Ohio, where 700,000 are still in the dark, Eddie and Dreama Thomas lost their house after their generator caught fire.

"I heard a boom, and then I heard him screaming: 'Dreama, get out of the house! The house is on fire!'" Dreama said.

Mid-Atlantic power outages could last days
At least 13 deaths blamed on eastern U.S. storms
Storms knock out power to 2M in eastern U.S.
232 Amtrak riders board buses after being stranded

In Virginia, William and Edith Benton were killed in their home, by a fire likely caused by sparking power lines. Both were in their 90's.

"They were an amazing couple with an amazing faith, and they were together to the very end," said local pastor Bryon Lepere.

In West Virginia, 230 Amtrak customers spent the night on a train, the tracks blocked in both directions by fallen trees.

And New York City, which dodged the brunt of the storm, is having its own power problems. About 8,000 workers at Con Ed -- the city's major utility provider -- are off the job after union negotiations broke down.

This happened as the city once again faces temperatures in the 90s.

With outages expected to go into next week, many are surviving with generators.

"I have them in the windows here to cool the living room," said Sergio Baez.

Others, unable to beat the heat, are doing their best to enjoy it.

In the Washington, D.C., area, as many as one million people are without power, and non-emergency federal workers have been given the option to stay home on Monday, as the temperature is expected to yet again by dangerously high.

  • Whit Johnson

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