Who's in town, who's not as Washington recovers, slowly, from big storm
Many top government officials had left Washington in time to avoid Friday night's storm – and the subsequent (and lingering) power outage. More than 2 million on the East Coast sweltered without air conditioning for a third day.
Many top federal officials are out of town as Washington recovers – slowly – from a severe storm Friday night that has left more than 2 million utility customers on the East Coast sweltering without air conditioning in record heat for a third day.Skip to next paragraph
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As a violent windstorm pounded the Washington area late Friday, members of Congress had already left town for their July 4 recess. The US Supreme Court had delivered its controversial health-care reform decision and closed shop for the summer. Saturday morning, as utilities assessed storm damage, Marine One took off from the White House South Lawn, taking President Obama to Camp David atop a mountain in Maryland, where his family had already begun a brief summer vacation.
IN PICTURES: Extreme weather 2012
It is not just officials who had fled the city for the Fourth of July week. Some influential journalists had decamped for the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. Mike Allen of Politico described the gathering this morning in his Playbook memo as “summer camp for D.C. and the Upper East Side: an intellectual utopia where David Brooks is God….”
The pace of recovery from the storm is drawing widespread criticism, from officials such as the governors of Maryland and Virginia as well as from those checking utility company progress reports at 2 a.m. by flashlight in homes where the interior temperature had been pushing triple digits. The US Department of Energy says 2.2 million utility customers remained without power as of 2 p.m. EDT Monday in the 10 states and District of Columbia that suffered storm damage. That is down from a peak of 4.1 million power-deprived customers. The largest of the outages are in Ohio (510,922 customer outages), West Virginia (457,856), Maryland (428,342), and Virginia (454,244), the Energy Department says. The District of Columbia is reporting 41,123 customers without power.