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Almost Half-Million Midwest Homes Are Without Power in Wake of Storm

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(Bloomberg) -- More than 490,000 homes and businesses are without power across the US Midwest after powerful windstorms roared through the region.

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Most of the outages are in Ohio, where more than 360,000 customers are in the dark, according to Poweroutage.us, which tracks utility websites. Indiana has 50,000 outages. West Virginia has almost 51,000.

Thunderstorms rolled through the region early Tuesday, packing winds of 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms ushered in stiflingly-hot weather. Columbus is forecast to hit 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 Celsius) Tuesday. Chicago will be 98.

The region’s grid operator, PJM Interconnection LLC, issued a hot-weather alert to power-plant and transmission-line operators to ensure equipment is ready to cope with high demand.

American Electric Power Co. had more than 210,000 customers in Ohio without power, as of 5:15 p.m. local time.

“Combined with impacts from the heat today, lines were overloaded and we were forced to take some customers offline to protect the system and reduce the risk of longer, widespread outages,” AEP spokeswoman Tammy Ridout said in an emailed statement.

(Updates with comment from utility in last paragraph.)

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