More than 6,500 residents have power once again after an outage in Montgomery County, Maryland, on Sunday, the hottest day of the year.
The Potomac Edison energy company says an animal that came into contact with electrical equipment caused the outage, and power was restored just before sundown.
“I took the stuff that was particularly sensitive after two hours and I put it into a separate cooler that I know will stay – you know it’s a smaller space. And I didn’t open my freezer anymore other than to get out the ice packs," one resident, Cornelia, said. "So I’m doing fine."
Residents who spoke to News4 said their power had been out since around 2 p.m. and though they were frustrated, they did what they could to stay cool and make sure their food didn't spoil.
“They think they’ll have it back on by about 11 p.m., which is a little bit concerning obviously,” resident Steve Wilson said. “We've got food in the freezer, food in the fridge, and just, you know, normal discomfort. But it’s a first world problem, so I’m not complaining too much.”
At the intersection of Ridge Road and Observation Drive, traffic lights went out, cars stopped to go one by one and at one point, the scene became dangerous. Montgomery County police said no one was seriously hurt, but two cars were totaled in a crash at the intersection.
Several businesses in a nearby shopping center were also without power, including a PetSmart. A worker there said they’re doing their best to keep the store cool for the animals, using portable fans and staying closed to keep the warm air out.
A spokesperson for FirstEnergy, of which Potomac Energy is a subsidiary, the company couldn't confirm the exact type of animal that caused the outage, except that it was similar in size to a squirrel.
A heat advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for our entire area from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Montgomery County declared a hyperthermia alert; here's where to find resources.
Intense heat can quickly become dangerous. Keep an eye on people vulnerable groups including newborns, infants, children and the elderly.
“Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year,” the National Weather Service says.
To stay safe in the heat, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, or move them to the cooler morning hours. Stay hydrated, opting for water and sports drinks over sugary beverages. Take shade breaks. Know the signs of heat-related illness.
Never leave a pet or kids alone in a parked car. Temperatures in cars can rise to lethal levels within minutes, even with the windows cracked, according to KidsandCars.org.
Wearing loose, light-colored clothing can also help you stay cool.
Spray parks and public pools are another way to cool down. Pools are open throughout the region, and some have extended hours.