"I've been up all night feeding the generator," said Melanie Dands of Severna Park, who uses it to run a refrigerator, one lamp and a pair of fans — one directed on her and the other on her 17-year-old daughter while they sleep. "It was so sudden, no one was prepared. And BGE keeps giving us false hope. First the power will be on at 8, then 2, then 11:30. They must think they can tell us anything because we're stupid."
At Baltimore's Belvedere Square, C.T. Sartory, a supervisor at Atwater's, said breakfast service was more than double — from an average of 250 to more than 700. As late as 2 p.m., people without power were still arriving, filling every table and relaxing in the coolness with their newspapers.
Meanwhile, Dan Chaustit, owner of the wine bar Crush, said he had to throw out $30,000 worth of meat and seafood. Looking dismayed, he said he wouldn't be restocked and ready to open until 5 p.m. Monday.
"It isn't just the lost food," he said. "We lost a Saturday night and part of a Friday night. That really hurt."
Meteorologists have identified Friday night's storm as a "derecho," a "widespread, long-lived windstorm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms," according to the National Weather Service.
In a conference call Sunday, O'Malley said the winds caught officials off-guard. He called the storm "unprecedented and sudden."
"We took a hurricane punch without the typical three or four days of hurricane warning," the governor said.
Immediately after the storm, more than 1 million Marylanders were without power.
As of late Sunday, power had been restored to about 365,000 BGE customers, but more than 257,000 remained powerless.
Baltimore County had 72,000 BGE customers without power. Baltimore City had 70,000. Anne Arundel had nearly 50,000 and Howard County 24,000. North Baltimore neighborhoods had the highest concentration of power outages, according to BGE.
Crews from Florida and Texas, numbering in the hundreds, were en route to Maryland on Sunday to help crews restore power, officials said.
Friday's storm killed two Marylanders and left another feared dead.
A 25-year-old Edgewater man was killed when a tree fell on his Ford Explorer in Anne Arundel County. A 71-year-old Silver Spring woman's body was found after a large maple tree fell on her home in Montgomery County. And a man was feared dead when the Coast Guard called off a 19-hour search for a 28-year-old after a boat capsized early Saturday about 15 nautical miles south of Annapolis.
Local governments responded to the power outages and heat by opening a slew of cooling centers and urging residents to treat intersections without working lights as if they had four-way stop signs.
Officials also warned residents to avoid using power generators inside homes, garages, basements or any enclosed area. Prince George's County fire officials said residents of two homes were sickened by fumes caused by generators, and a fire was started in a third home by improper use of a generator.
Baltimore officials even postponed until Thursday a plan to close three fire companies as a cost-cutting measure; the companies will be used to clean up after the storm and help people suffering from heat-related health problems.
The Baltimore firefighters union president, Rick Hoffman, said the decision to keep the companies open was an admission that they are needed.
"The Fire Department is nothing short of an insurance company," Hoffman said. "You cannot predict when things are going to happen."
And the coming week's weather is a concern.
The temperature hit 101 degrees Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, and forecasters predicted readings approaching 100 throughout the week.
Moreover, some worried that more thunderstorms could be on the way, knocking out even more power.
Kevin Whitt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., said additional thunderstorms could be on the way. The agency was monitoring a front in Chicago but was more concerned about potential activity in West Virginia and Ohio — where hot and humid weather seemed ripe for a storm, he said.
"The threat is there," he said. "If we see storms developing in central Ohio, that could be a cause for concern."
BGE's Gould urged patience in what he called an "extended" process of restoring power.
"This storm actually caused more damage that some hurricanes," he said.
O'Malley agreed it was too early to grade public officials and the utilities on how they have responded.
But he said, "I'm not satisfied until every home is back on and every business is back on."
As of late Sunday, more than 263,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers were without power. Here are the totals for the Baltimore area, broken down by county:
Anne Arundel County: 49,713
Baltimore County: 72,314
Baltimore City: 70,471
Carroll County: 1,702
Harford County: 4,330
Howard County: 24,217