PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Utility crews labored around the clock for yet another day Saturday, working to restore electricity to the nearly 175,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland still without power following an early week ice storm. Some customers have been told it could be several more days before power is restored.
The number of those without power steadily decreased in the two states throughout Friday, plunging from more than 250,000 early in the day. But officials said some might have to endure a few more days without electricity.
"That number is coming down throughout the course of the day," PECO spokesman Fred Maher said Friday. "We are preparing people for the fact that some folks will be without power over the weekend."
Philadelphia's surrounding counties, where many schools were closed for a third day Friday, had the bulk of the outages. Meanwhile, the city escaped the massive outages affecting its suburban neighbors.
Early Saturday, PECO, the dominant electricity provider in the Philadelphia area, reported just over 167,000 outages, with about 2,700 in the city. Chester County had the most outages with more than 65,000, while more than 54,000 in Montgomery County were without electricity and more than 34,000 in Bucks County endured another night in the dark. In Delaware County, about 10,500 customers were waiting for the power to come back on.
Severe cold weather that gripped the mid-Atlantic on Friday was expected to remain in place for days, and forecasters said light snow was possible over the weekend.
In Maryland, service had been restored to all but about 6,700 homes and businesses. More than 150,000 Maryland customers lost power Wednesday after a storm coated much of the state with up to a half-inch of ice.
More than a million outages had been attributed to the storm.
Authorities urged people to be careful when using space heaters and other methods to heat their homes. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said four confirmed cases of carbon monoxide poisoning and a fifth suspected case were reported at a hospital in the Philadelphia suburbs on Wednesday night.
Amtrak restored full service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg on Friday morning after tracks were cleared of fallen trees and debris.
AP writer Kathy Matheson contributed to this report. Scolforo reported from Harrisburg.