DALLAS -- On the second full day without power in her hair and nail salon, Brenda David packed up curling irons, hair dryers, and extension cords and marched across the parking lot to an office building with electricity.
''We're doing hair over in the office," David said yesterday, explaining her makeshift Dallas beauty shop. ''They come in here and get shampooed, then go over there" -- to a lighted conference room filled with beauticians, hair supplies, four chairs, and a table.
David was among the nearly 300,000 customers still without power after hurricane-force winds, heavy rains, and hail the size of tennis balls hit northern Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday. Utility officials said the storms were the area's worst in terms of lost power, at one point leaving 500,000 customers in the dark. Insurance officials estimated the damage at $100 million.
This week's storms also left without power tens of thousands in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.
''We just are dealing with unknowns," she said. ''We have not experienced a storm like this before."
The timing of the outage could not have been worse for John Spyropoulos, whose neighborhood cafe had been freshly stocked for the week's business Tuesday, hours before the power went out.
After a few hours, Spyropoulos said, all the food had to be tossed. He pegged losses at $1,500 to $2,000.
''You lost double," he said. ''You lost your business, all your inventory."
As regulars came in to John's Cafe yesterday morning for such favorites as gyros and pancakes, Spyropoulos shrugged and shook his head, offering as compensation coffee brewed ''the old-fashioned way" in a heated pot.