| LEWISBURG, W.Va., July 6
LEWISBURG, W.Va., July 6 Weary West Virginians
dumped rotting food from their refrigerators and tried to clear
fallen trees from the roads on Friday as new storms prolonged
the power outages that have already lasted a week.
The forecast called for more record-breaking heat and
triple-digit temperatures across the Midwest and into the
Eastern United States during the weekend, with heavy rains and
severe storms in the upper Midwest, the National Weather Service
At least 406,000 people were without electricity on Friday
in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, power companies
said. New storms knocked out power to parts of West Virginia on
Thursday, while other areas have been without electricity since
violent storms hit a week ago.
The weather was blamed for two deaths in Tennessee's Great
Smoky Mountains National Park on Thursday. A man riding a
motorcycle was killed in a crash blamed on the weather, and a
woman died after being struck by a falling tree, said park
spokeswoman Melissa Cobern.
Utility companies warned that some residents in the
worst-hit areas could be without power and air conditioning
until early next week.
Just north of Lewisburg, West Virginia, down winding
Benedict Lane, huge fallen oaks and other trees covered roads in
a neighborhood interspersed with thick woods and open fields.
The area has been without power for a week and residents
were fed up. Without power to run the gas pumps, they struggled
to find gasoline to run the generators.
"You can't do anything. You couldn't get gas for two days to
run anything," said Darius Snedegar, a retired 71-year-old truck
driver, as he took a break from cutting his lawn. "It ain't been
good at all."
Sawn tree limbs and other storm debris were stacked in his
yard, and a chainsaw whined from a nearby house.
"I've seen some bad storms but nothing like that," Snedegar
He said his house was spared major damage, but it might be
Sunday or Monday before power was restored to the neighborhood
of neat brick and frame houses and trailers.
Dollie Gabbert, 64, said she had just finished dumping food
from her two refrigerators and two freezers.
She was worried about her husband Gene, a 79-year-old
diabetic who is on oxygen for heart and lung ailments. Without
power, the Gabberts have been using bags of ice to keep his
"We are having a time, having a time," Dollie Gabbert said,
a miniature flashlight in one hand.
She and her husband have been able to recharge the batteries
for his oxygen pump from a neighbor's generator and he has been
sitting in their truck to run the air conditioning and feel more
Unable to get the generator running on their mobile home,
she opened the windows at night but closed them during the day
to keep out the high heat.
"It's very stuffy," she said.
Public health officials warned that the sniffling heat could
aggravate asthma and heart and lung problems.
(Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York, Writing by
Jane Sutton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)