Powerful storms knock out power across the Washington area

Severe thunderstorms with high winds toppled trees Tuesday night, knocking out power to more than 230,000 homes and businesses across the Washington area.

At one point, 200,000 utility customers across Maryland were without power, according to website PowerOutage.

Of these, 64,000 were reported in Prince George’s County alone.

In many places, trees fell on homes and roads as winds blew in excess of 60 miles per hour amid episodes of torrential rain and clattering hailstones. The storm swept through the region from west to east, sparing few, if any, jurisdictions.

In few places has the impact been more severe than in the Olney area of ​​Montgomery County. According to fire department spokesman Pete Piringer, falling trees damaged up to 20 houses.

About half a dozen families have been displaced, he said, and hinted that more may be the case.

Parts of Prince George’s County also appeared to be badly affected. The county’s Berwyn Heights, College Park and Greenbelt counties “were hit hard by the storm line that passed through,” the Prince George’s County Fire Department said.

It cited multiple reports of downed wires and trees. A man was seriously injured when a tree fell on a home on Lakeland Road in College Park, according to Michael Yourishin, a fire department spokesman.

In just a single example of the widespread impact of the storms, the city of College Park canceled a 7:30 p.m. meeting of its mayor and council, citing the citywide power outage.

Nearby, thickets of fallen trees and broken branches spread across storm-soaked roads, according to a witness.

The storm, which darkened the skies as it swept from West Virginia toward Washington, proved a compelling spectacle for many, as lightning flared repeatedly and raced to the ground in jagged streaks.

Trees that withstood the furious onslaught twisted and writhed under the lashes of the wind. A 70-mph gust was measured near Centerville in Fairfax County, Virginia, according to a report from the National Weather Service.

At Reagan National Airport, instruments measured a gust of 52 miles per hour.

But the storm’s easterly move revealed the orange rays of the setting sun beneath the dark fringes of the rain clouds.

Even as the sunset light began to wash over the area and rainbows began to appear, lightning still played amid the retreating clouds.

As always with summer storms like this, the effects vary from country to country, or even street to street.

In upper northwest Washington, two people were in a car at 42nd and NW Chesapeake Streets when a tree fell on the vehicle. Both occupants were removed unharmed, according to the DC Fire Department. Cables later fell on an unoccupied vehicle and set it on fire, the fire department said.

The Washington Nationals baseball game has been postponed. It will be played as part of a split doubleheader on Wednesday, the team said.

Weather reportedly forced the cancellation of a baseball game at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Maryland.

In different parts of the region, witnesses saw hailstones ricochet off as they hit the pavement. In Fauquier County, Virginia, a witness told the weather service about hailstones nearly an inch in diameter.

More than 0.40 inches of rain fell in one hour at both Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport.

Tuesday turned out to be another particularly rainy day in an already rainy month.

As if to emphasize the connection between summer, heat and thunderstorms, temperatures dropped as the storm passed.

In about four hours, a hot afternoon at Reagan’s in the early ’90s turned into a cool evening in the ’70s.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/07/12/storms-trees-power-dc-maryland/ Powerful storms knock out power across the Washington area

Dustin Huang

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