The week's intense heat wave was broken by a violent cold front packing near-hurricane force winds and damaging downdrafts that ripped through the region Tuesday night. By the time the storm passed, more than 365,000 PECO (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.) customers were left without service making it one of the 10 most damaging storms in the company's history.

The majority of damage was due to the near hurricane force winds, trees and heavy rains. The dangerous weather system spawned clusters of intense thunderstorms that were accompanied by frequent cloud-to-ground lightning.

Currently, 283,000 customers are without service throughout the entire service territory, and the company has restored about 70,000 customers since the storm began.

PECO crews, pre-staged in preparation for the storm, immediately began working to clear the wreckage left in the storm's wake to start what is expected to be a multiday restoration effort. PECO has activated its storm center, and additional PECO, contractor and crews from other utilities have been called into service. Crews will continue to work around the clock and will not stop until the job is done.

The all time worst storm for the company occurred in January 1994 when 550,000 customers lost service after an ice storm.