UDATED 6:51 PM
Gov. Martin O'Malley Saturday issued a state of emergency for Maryland because of severe thunderstorms, high temperatures and the long period of time it's expected to take to fully recover from the double blow of weather disasters.
The declaration will give the state flexibility to activate the Maryland National Guard and provide assistance to local emergency managers, if necessary.
O'Malley said President Obama called him Saturday from Camp David, near Thurmont, to check in following Friday’s storms, a local CBS affiliate reported.
The declaration said that more than 840,000 homes were without electricity and it could take up to seven days to fully restore power. It said more than 74 cooling stations have been opened across Maryland.
UPDATED (4:01 p.m.)—Gov. Martin O'Malley said Saturday he plans to declare a state of emergency in Maryland because of severe storms that passed through Maryland Friday night and early Saturday morning.
O'Malley declined to offer specifics.
"The answer is 'yes,'" O'Malley said in response to questions from Patch. "The declaration, the paperwork, it's already been worked up."
The governor said he planned to release details later in the evening.
Governors in Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia have already made similar declarations in their respective states.
Meanwhile, BGE and PEPCO officials are telling customers to prepare for power restoration work to continue well into next week.
Rob Gould, a spokesman for BGE, said help was coming in from Tennessee, Philadelphia, Mississippi and Florida.
A PEPCO spokeswoman said additional crews were coming to assist its power restoration efforts from as far away as Texas.
Both said it could be at least seven days before restoration efforts were completed.
"What we are really finding here is damage of the magnitude of a hurricane," Gould said, adding that efforts could be hampered by storms expected to hit the area late Saturday afternoon and into the evening.
State emergency management officials compared the storms Friday night to Hurricane Irene, which struck the area last fall.
Part of the power issue stems from downed large transmission lines in western Maryland, state officials said.
State health officials are asking residents who are not suffering from physical injuries or illness to not go to hospital emergency rooms to get out of the heat. Instead, officials asked that they go to any of the 58 cooling centers located around the state.
Stay with Patch for updates