Virginia's death toll from last weekend's storms has climbed to 13 with a fatality in Fairfax County, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday.
Bob Spieldenner of the Department of Emergency Management said the death was attributed to heat and the storm, but further details were not immediately available.
McDonnell said that by late Thursday afternoon, the number of Virginia homes and businesses still without electric power had declined to 95,475. That was down from a peak of about 1.2 million right after winds of up to 80 mph hammered the state, knocking down trees and snapping power lines.
Dominion Virginia Power reported 16,782 customers still without service -- nearly a third of them in northern Virginia. Also without power were 76,733 Appalachian Power customers and 1,960 electric cooperative customers.
Along with northern Virginia, Lynchburg and Roanoke were especially hard hit by the outages, and thousands of residents of those localities continued to swelter in temperatures hovering around the triple-digit mark.
Ashley Allen and Elliott Agnor had to spend their vacation budget on a hotel room in Roanoke to escape the oppressive heat of their Cave Spring apartment, which remained without power on the Fourth of July. Despite having to cancel plans for a beach getaway later this summer, the couple tried to look on the bright side, noting the hotel is a prime location for Roanoke's annual fireworks display.
“My grandparents used to come and stay here for the fireworks,” Agnor told the Roanoke Times . “It's the best view you can get.”
Amanda Dooley's family of five spent two nights at the Roanoke Civic Center shelter and a night with her aunt before getting a room at the same Ramada Inn after a family member offered to pay the bill for two nights. She wasn't sure where they would stay next if the power at her home remained off.
“It's just terrible,” she said. “I feel sick.”
Meanwhile, McDonnell said power companies continued to bring in reinforcements from other states to help with the restoration effort.
He also said one primary road and 55 secondary roads remained closed because of downed trees and debris.
Forty-five localities have declared emergencies, and nine local shelters were open. Localities throughout the state had cooling centers open to provide daytime relief from the heat.