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More than 140,000 without power in Midwest after storms

(Reuters) - More than 140,000 homes and businesses, mostly in Ohio, were without power early Thursday following severe thunderstorms on Wednesday, according to local power companies.

American Electric Power Co Inc, the hardest-hit utility in Ohio, said a strong band of severe weather traveled across the state Wednesday afternoon, causing "considerable damage" to its electric system.

"Strong winds with gusts registering at over 70 miles per hour in some parts of the state, coupled with heavy rains and severe lightning, has caused damage to electrical equipment, broke poles and downed power lines," AEP said in a release.

AEP warned customers to be prepared for the possibility of extended power outages over the next several days.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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