The wave of late Friday-evening storms caused hurricane-like damage as it knocked out power to 3 million customers from Indiana to Washington, D.C. Twenty-four deaths have been blamed on the storms, including a couple in Bedford County who died in a fire, and a firefighter in Boones Mill who was killed when a tree fell on him as he was trying to help someone who had a tree fall on their car.
Utilities have warned that many neighborhoods could remain in the dark for much of the week, if not beyond. Appalachian Power hopes to have 95% of its customers' power restored by Sunday.
The powerful wind storms, which toppled trees onto power lines and knocked out transmission towers and electrical substations, have renewed debate about whether to bury lines.
According to Governor McDonnell, there are still about 286,000 people without power across the state.
The governor says that number is down 123,000 people since 6 p.m. Monday. At the height of the outages, 1.2 million customers were without power. Additionally, the state's storm-related fatalities has grown to 11, after a death in Loudon County.
“We are seeing outage numbers decline, and the power companies are working around the clock with extra staffing,” said Governor McDonnell. “But the intense heat combined with lack of power continues to be a real and ongoing safety concern for us. Residents should do all they can to stay cool and to care for neighbors, friends and family who may not have power. We continue to work very closely with the utility and communications companies to assure every effort is being made to get all systems back on line as quickly as possible.”
Laura Southard from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management says they are waiting for full power restoration before requesting a disaster declaration from the federal government.
The department will survey the damage of public facilities once all power is restored.
Southard also said that right now, local governments are doing a great job of handling the damage and asking the state for help.
She noted that the storm has been an historic event, but it is not unusual to have power out for a week, and they are working as fast as possible to restore it.
As of 10 a.m. Dominion Virginia Power says it has restored power to more than 860,000 customers, or 86 percent of the 1 million people who were affected by Friday's storms. The company reports 129,368 people without power as of noon.
As of 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Appalachian Power reports 120,853 customers without power.
As of 9:30 p.m. Monday night, there still 149,422 Appalachian Power customers without power.
Appalachian Power says 95 percent of its customers should have power back by late Sunday. Click here to see Appalachian Power's outage numbers.
Here is a list of when the company expects power to be restored, by county.
Tuesday night, July 3 - Dickenson, and Wise counties
Wednesday night, July 4 – Buchanan and Russell counties
Thursday night, July 5 – Floyd, Smyth, Tazewell and Washington counties
Friday night, July 6 - Bland, Carroll, Giles, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski and Wythe counties
Saturday night, July 7 - Albermarle, Amherst, Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell, City of Lynchburg, Craig, Franklin, Henry, Nelson, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Roanoke counties and City of Roanoke
Dominion Virginia Power is reporting 139,658 customers without power, as of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Click here to see more outage numbers.
Power has been restored to 760,000 of the 1 million Dominion Virginia Power customers whose electricity was knocked out by Friday's storm.
As of noon Monday, there was still nearly 200,000 people without power.
Like many fire and police departments, power utilities have mutual aid agreements to help one another out in times of disaster.
On Power Energy, a Florida-based company, sent 90 workers and more than five dozen pieces of equipment to help with power restoration efforts.
The nerve center is in Roanoke on Ordway Drive. Their efforts and this is just one of the power companies that has responded to help local utilities get the lights and air conditioners back on.
This, in reality, is a well choreographed process. One, that most of these power workers and their bosses have been through many times.
"Appalachian Power Co., is part of a consortium of utilities that make up the southeast electrical exchange and we depend on each other during weather events of this nature," Mike Mercier of Appalachian Power said.
In a parking lot in Northwest Roanoke, hundreds of bucket trucks and their operators gather just after sunrise for safety briefings, to grab sack lunches and water, and then to head out in the field.
"It's actually much more organized than it appears at first. This is the first part of our staging process, getting crews aligned with our utility resources," Tom Esch, the superintendent for On Power Energy said.
While it looks like a lot of manpower and a ton of equipment, keep in mind that Appalachian Power is only one of the utility providers impacted and that has made it more difficult to get shared resources in place, as quickly as in the past.
"It did come at about the worst time it could with record heat or a heat wave if you will," Mercier said. "So we recognize this places an additional burden on our customers. So we appreciate their patience; we have over 350 line workers and we're bringing in more every day."
In another part of the parking lot, supplies linemen need for repairs are readily available. This means they don't have to drive to a central shop to restock.
These workers are away from their homes and families, yet they know this is part of the job.
"That's what we're here for," Esch said. "Anytime we come into an area we truly sympathize and emphasize with the people who are out of power and we understand the inconvenience that is there. That's why were so focused on getting the energy restored. "
According to Governor McDonnell's office, there are still 500,000 customers without power in Virginia.
That's down from 1.2 million customers following Friday's storm.
The governor's office says there have been 10-storm related deaths in Virginia. One of those was in Franklin County, where a Boones Mill Firefighter was killed as he was responding to the station.
The governor also reported six heat-related deaths. Of the heat-related deaths, two occured in Central Virginia, two happened in Northern Virginia, and two more people died in Western Virginia.