BALTIMORE -- More Mid-Atlantic residents were a little more comfortable Thursday as power companies hooked them back up with lights and air conditioning over the Fourth of July holiday.
The number without power was diminishing Thursday though not quickly enough for those still in the sweltering dark. More than 500,000 customers were still out with many of the outages -- nearly 230,000 -- in West Virginia.
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Pepco got some of the harshest criticism. As of Thursday morning, the utility said it had restored power to more than 90 percent of its customers in the nation's capital and Maryland suburbs.
More than 2 million people at one point lost power from wicked storms that converged on Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Indiana, Ohio and New Jersey. They packed winds topping 70 mph in some places, uprooting trees and damaging homes.
Officials blamed the storms for 26 deaths.
Meanwhile, a new round of summer storms was making its way across Michigan and Ohio, knocking down trees and power lines. Wind gusts above 60 mph were reported as storms crossed Michigan's Lower Peninsula, the National Weather Service said. In Ohio, downed power lines prompted the closure of a section of Interstate 670 that links downtown Columbus with the city's main airport. The highway reopened by the Thursday morning rush hour.