Thousands in Philadelphia area remain without power after storms

A lightning bolt streaks down in Center City during powerful storms Thursday, July 3, 2014. (Photo by Sophia Cassidy, 12, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who aptly described it as an "insane lightning bolt.")

In the Philadelphia area, thousands of customers remain without power after strong thunderstorms swept through the region for the second night in a row. 

Though utility crews are continuing to restore service after Thursday's storms, forecasters say the region can expect clear skies by the time fireworks are scheduled to go off this evening.

Peco was reporting 21,047 customers who lacked electricity as of shortly before 4 p.m.

Chester County, with 10,771 homes and businesses without power, was the hardest hit. That was followed by 3,475 outages in Montgomery County, 3,276 in Bucks County, 2,796 in Delaware County and 729 in Philadelphia.

In a message on its Twitter feed this morning, the utility said most customers would see service restored today and Saturday, though people in the areas with the most damage may be without power until Sunday.

A number of downed trees and wires were reported throughout the region.

The power situation was considerably better in South Jersey. PSE&G was reporting just a few dozen outages for the bulk of the day, but nearly 800 Camden County customers lacked power late this afternoon.

The storms brought strong winds and heavy rain to the area, leaving more than 100,000 people without power Thursday night, as Hurricane Arthur soaked much of the East Coast and threatened to disrupt Fourth of July festivities..

The rain also forced the cancellation of a number of area fireworks shows on Thursday night, and moved the popular free Philly POPS! concert scheduled for in front of Independence Hall indoors to the Kimmel Center.

Light rain moved through the Philadelphia region again this morning and early afternoon, though better conditions are expected in time for evening fireworks, according to the National Weather Service.

"Skies will be clear for much of the area in time although some clouds may linger over coastal areas," a weather service forecast discussion says.

Strong wind gusts, however, may affect fireworks, forecasters say.

In Philadelphia, the weather service is calling for a high near 79 degrees today.

The rest of the weekend should be nice, with sunny skies and high temperatures of 82 and 84 degrees forecasted for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

However, forecasters were warning that despite the pleasant weather, there will be a high risk of rip currents at the Jersey Shore throughout the weekend.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or Follow @phillynews on Twitter.