(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) The powerful storm that ripped through the region last night has left about 60 percent of Arlington County without power, according to authorities.
Winds of up to 70 miles per hour caused widespread damage across Arlington last night. Trees and large branches fell across roads and highways, utility lines were knocked down, newspaper boxes and other debris was blown into streets, and some roofs were damaged. Facing hundreds of calls, police and firefighters were often limited to simply placing cones, police tape and flares around downed trees in the roadway. In one instance, however, a half dozen residents helped two police officers remove a tree from the southbound lanes of George Mason Drive near Pershing Drive.
As of 11:00 a.m., Dominion was reporting 58,846 customers without power in Arlington. Though Dominion was not providing estimates of when power will be restored, county officials said it could be a while.
“It appears that it may be a number of days before power is fully restored,” the county told reporters.
The power outages and downed trees are also affecting Metro. While WMATA says most of the Metro system is operating normally, a power outage at Courthouse station has prompted Metro to close the station and set up bus service between Rosslyn and Clarendon. Some Metrobus service has been detoured or delayed by downed trees, including the 7A, 7F, 16A and 16B lines.
Cell phone service was also spotty in parts of the county — including the Courthouse, Clarendon and Columbia Pike areas — and a number of Twitter users were reporting a loss of cable and landline phone service.
With another excessive heat warning in effect today (see below), Arlington has started compiling a list of cooling centers for residents without power. Along the places to take refuge are:
Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd)
Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th Street S.)
Madison Community Center (3829 N. Stafford Street)
Dept. Parks & Rec Trades Center (S. Taylor Street, just off S. Arlington Mill Dr.)
Pentagon City Mall (1250 S. Hayes St.)
Aurora Hills Library (735 S. 18th St.)
Central Library (1015 N. Quincy St.)
The National Weather Service issued the following Excessive Heat Warning for today:
EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM EDT THIS EVENING…
* HEAT INDEX VALUES… AROUND 110 DEGREES THIS AFTERNOON.
* TEMPERATURES… AROUND 100 DEGREES.
* IMPACT… RISK OF HEAT EXHAUSTION OR OTHER HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS FOR THOSE WITHOUT AIR-CONDITIONING OR THOSE SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD.
AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS… STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM… STAY OUT OF THE SUN… AND CHECK IN ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.
TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE… RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHTWEIGHT AND LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK… THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR-CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 9 1 1.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared a State of Emergency for the state. According to the governor’s office, 2.5 million people are without power throughout Virginia — the largest non-hurricane power outage in Virginia history. The governor’s office also confirmed six fatalities as a result of falling trees during the storm.