Millions of people across the United States are still without power in sweltering temperatures after a round of summer storms that killed more than a dozen people.
The outages left many to contend with stifling homes and spoiled food over the weekend as temperatures nudged 40 degrees Celsius.
More than 2.1 million people from Illinois to Virginia remained without power on Monday (Tuesday overnight NZT) as officials warned they could be cut off for several more days.
Since the weekend, severe weather has been blamed for at least 22 deaths, most from trees falling on homes and cars.
On Sunday night (Monday morning NZT) in North Carolina, a 77-year-old man was killed when strong winds collapsed a Pitt County barn where he was parking an all-terrain vehicle, authorities said.
In neighbouring Beaufort County, a couple was killed when a tree fell on the golf cart they were driving. Officials said trees fell onto dozens of houses, and two hangars were destroyed at an airport in Beaufort County.
The damage was mostly blamed on straight-line winds, which are strong gusts pushed ahead of fast-moving thunderstorms like a wall of wind.
Elsewhere, at least 10 of the dead were killed in Virginia, including a 90-year-old woman asleep in her bed when a tree slammed into her home. Two young cousins in New Jersey were killed when a tree fell on their tent while camping. Two were killed in Maryland, one in Ohio, one in Kentucky and one in Washington.
In West Virginia, authorities said one person died early Sunday when the all-terrain vehicle they were riding hit a tree that had fallen over a road.
The power outages had prompted concerns of traffic problems as commuters took to roads with darkened stoplights.
To alleviate traffic congestion around Baltimore and Washington, federal and state officials gave many workers the option of staying at home on Monday. Maryland's governor also gave state workers wide leeway for staying out of the office.
For survivors, it was a challenge to stay cool over the weekend.
From Atlanta to Baltimore, temperatures soared.
Atlanta set a record with a high of 40.5C, while the temperature passed 37C at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just outside the nation's capital. With no air conditioning, officials urged residents to check on their elderly relatives and neighbours. It was tough to find a free pump at gas stations that did have power, and lines of cars snaked around fast-food drive-thrus.
Power crews from as far away as Florida and Oklahoma were on their way to the mid-Atlantic region to help get the power back on and the air conditioners running again. Even if people have generators, the gas-run devices often don't have enough power to operate an air conditioner.
And power restoration was spotty: Several people interviewed by The Associated Press said they remained without power even though the lights were on at neighbours' homes across the street. In Maryland, Gov. O'Malley promised he would push utility companies to get electricity restored as quickly as possible.
"No one will have his boot further up Pepco's and BGE's backsides than I will," O'Malley said, referring to the two main utilities serving Maryland.