As the temperature crept past 90 degrees at noon on Sunday, the number left to swelter without out power in the Washington region crept down by degrees, but many people will be without air conditioning, lights and refridgeration for days to come.
The number without power was dropping by the hour — 739,187 at noon, down by almost 40,000 since 8:30 a.m. — but many people were forced to seek refuge in malls, coffee shops and emergency shelters.
Many who had been stuck in their homes because of fallen trees and power lines were able to escape Sunday, as roads were reopened by crews that worked through the night to clean up the tangled aftermath of the storm that struck before midnight Friday.
Temperatures Sunday wereforecast to reach close to 100 degrees, continuing a heat streak that began on Friday.
Paul Thompson, 58, collected two bags of free ice being distributed at the Harris Teeter store in North Bethesda. A line had formed quickly when people heard the store had 3,500 bags to distribute.
“I’ll just be glad to be getting this to keep things in the freezer a coouple more days,” Thompson said as he headed home to Chevy Chase. But the blackout wouldn’t keep him from his office on Monday: “My building is air conditioned.”
Coping was the only option.
Though some slept in Sunday after a night of tossing and turning in the heat, the city’s early-morning pace quickened faster than on a normal Sunday as people struck out in search of food and coffee, an outlet to plug in their phones and lap tops, and a precious haven of cooled air.
Peter Emerzian, 55, started his quest for breakfast two hours earlier on the second day after the storm, arriving at Dunkin Donuts in Rockville at 7 a.m. The line already was out the door.
He waited, taking away four extra large coffees and two breakfast sandwiches for himself and his wife.
“I’m over it,” he said, guessing that he would return to work Monday whether or not he had electricity.
“It was a little tough to adapt to no morning shows,” said Adam Murphy as he and his wife, Erica, watched their children play in the grass as they sipped coffee outside Starbucks in Rockville. Their attempt to heat coffee on the grill outside their powerless home hadn’t been satisfying.
“Not as tasty as this,” Erica said.
Carolyn Stewart’s bad luck compounded with she left the temporary sanctuary of her sister’s house to board a Metro Red Line train. The train car she choose lacked air conditioning.
“It’s awful,” said Stewart, 45, thinking of her home in Landover. “There’s no light in my building, it’s hot, sticky.”
Daniel Donis, 57, clasped a cup of Starbucks coffee as he waited for a train on a bench at the Friendship heights metro station, clasping a cup of Starbucks coffee. He’d set out to drive to work in his car.
“I drove but saw gas stations didn’t have power,” Donis said. “So I ran out of gas.”
Stephen Roberts was pondering whether to abandon Washington and drive to his brother’s house in Missouri.
“I dealt with it well until about 2 a.m.,” Roberts said, but after that his night turned sleepless. “My imagination runs wild. I heard it might be a week without power.”