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As of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative was reporting that 26,702 customers were still without power, with most being in Charles County (17,483) after storms hit the region last night.

According to SMECO's website, Charles County had more than 23,602 customers with no electricity, Calvert County had 4,652 out, Prince George's County had 3,410 out and St. Mary's County had 2,691 out of power.

Baltimore Gas and Electric, which services northern Calvert County, had 421,627 without power by mid-day; 3,572 of those were in Calvert.

About 60,000 customers were without power around 3 a.m. Saturday, said Tom Dennison, spokesman for SMECO. Shortly before noon Saturday, SMECO workers had made significant progress as customers without power decreased to about 39,000.

Dennison said last night workers were able to make major repairs on lines at transmission facilities which were able to restore power to a significant number of customers.

He said crews are now working on feeder lines and substations which he said caused the next greatest number of power outages.

Workers will continue to work on the outages today and Sunday.

Violent weather struck the region shortly before 11 p.m. Friday, bringing high winds in excess of 60 to 70 miles per hour and lightning.

The storm has been identified by some as a “derecho”, which the National Weather Service classfies as a storm with widespread and long-lasting high wind speeds. These storms are often part and parcel of thunderstorms moving in a curved pattern.

More storms are expected to come through the area late Saturday afternoon. The National Weather Service issued a severe weather advisory, stating “some of the [thunderstorms] will likely become severe, producing damaging wind gusts and possibly large hail. The most likely time for this to occur looks to be from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.”

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Charles asks residents to restrict water use

The Charles County Department of Public Works is asking citizens to make efforts to conserve water after the storms affected water operations at some of the county's water stations. Citizens are urged to refrain from washing cars, watering the lawn, and other nonessential water usage until further notice.

Until repairs are complete, the department says it is imperative that all businesses and residents restrict their water use. If citizens do not reduce their water use significantly, it may be necessary to declare a water emergency and impose mandatory water restrictions, according to a news release from the Charles County government.

Citizens with questions should call Deptartment of Public Works at 301-609-7400.

This report was compiled by Gretchen Phillips, Rob Perry, Lindsay Renner and Angela Breck.