POSTED: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 8:01am
UPDATED: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 8:27am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Millions of people are waking up in the dark this morning as utility crews try to deal with the aftermath of summer storms.
That, plus raging wildfires out west, left much of the country dealing with severe weather damage.
Nearly two dozen people died in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina alone.
Millions are without power.
In the capital region, crews are coming in from as far as Canada to help.
"We have water, no air conditioning, no nothing and no signs of it being fixed any time soon," said Arlington, Virginia Resident Rachel Griffin.
Authorities say it could take a week to get the lights back on.
"We ask for our customers' patience. Our crews are working 16 hours a day, 24/7," said Thomas H. Graham, PEPCO President
"Nobody will have their boot further up Pepco's backside then I will to make sure we get there," said Governor Martin O'Malley, Maryland.
The powerless are escaping 100-plus degree temperatures in cooling centers all over the region.
"My thought is, think cool thoughts," said Virginia Resident Bill Freeborn,
In West Virginia, hundreds of passengers got a bus ride after being stuck for 20 hours on an Amtrak train with downed trees in its path.
"I want to take a shower more than anything. I have never desired something more than a shower right now," said stranded Amtrack Noa Jaffe Stranded Amtrak Passenger
Out west, wildfires are still raging.
This weekend, some Colorado residents got to see what's left of their homes.
"That's my neighborhood. That's my community - I know a lot of people in that neighborhood that's totally wiped out," said Colorado Springs Evacuee Sheryl Marlor.
FEMA is working with officials in seven states plus D.C. The President declared disaster zones in all of west virginia and ohio.