Outages remain after storm rips through region

Two trees lean on a house in Rockville, Md., Thursday evening after a wall of storms slammed into the region sparking three reported tornadoes, damaging trees and bringing down power outages. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Possible tornado tears up middle of Montgomery County

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 7:13 pm

UPDATE: Saturday – 6/15/2013, 9:29 a.m. ET

The National Weather Service confirms the storm that ripped through the region Thursday spawned a tornado in Montgomery County with a track of more than 17 miles.

A second tornado that touched down in St. Mary’s County, Md., was also confirmed by the NWS. They are still investigating whether a third tornado occurred in Spotsylvania County, Va.

EARLIER: Friday – 6/14/2013, 7:01 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON – Thousands of customers were without power in the Washington area after a large, powerful storm and possible tornadoes charged through the area around 3 p.m. Thursday, producing strong winds, hail and rainfall.

The number of outages has dropped from more than 100,000 customers who were left without electricity in the wake of the storm.

A possible tornado was reported near Laurel in Prince George’s County just after 4 p.m. Another possible tornado was spotted near Colesville and Olney at about 4 p.m. as well. Fire and rescue crews reported seeing the twister near the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Norbeck Road in the Aspen Hill area, according to The Associated Press.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency additionally says a possible tornado was reported in Snow Hill in Worcester County on the Eastern Shore. Possible funnel clouds were also spotted in Spotsylvania County, Va., just before 3 p.m., along with hail, according to storm reports submitted to the weather service.

The National Weather Service says it can’t confirm any tornadoes before taking a close look at the damage.

Hail larger than 1 inch was reported in Carroll and St. Mary’s counties and tree damage was widespread across the region. Wind speeds of about 60 mph were reported during the brunt of the storm.

In Richmond, Va., a 4-year-old boy died after being crushed by an uprooted tree at a local park. His father also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The wall of volatile clouds, moisture and wind moved into the region just hours after another storm system blew in Thursday morning.

The morning system has been declared a low-end derecho by the National Weather Service. The derecho stretched over 600 miles and caused more than 150 damaging wind reports as it chugged from Illinois to the Eastern Seaboard, the service said through its official Twitter account.

A derecho is characterized as one long, continuous storm system that stretches for hundreds of miles and is known for its straight-line winds.

Despite that classification, the morning thunderstorms caused relatively minor damage. A tree fell on a house in Carroll County, Md., and some residents reported seeing a funnel cloud. Another tree sliced through a house in West Laurel, Md. About 10,000 Maryland customers lost power Thursday morning.

In Cecil County, Md., a 19-year-old woman was struck by lightning while she worked at a zoo. She was revived at a hospital.

WTOP’s live blog followed the storms Thursday and sent out information about their progress.

POWER OUTAGES

As of 12 p.m. Friday:

  • Pepco: Nearly 2,000 customers are in the dark, all but a few in Montgomery County.
  • Complete restoration is expected by 11:59 p.m. Friday, says Pepco, with the majority by 4 p.m.
  • Dominion Virginia Power: 500 customers are out of power in Northern Virginia.
  • BGE: 200 customers out in the region in Anne Arundel County.

If you need the number to your power company, text POWER to 91035 and we’ll text the numbers back to you.


VIDEO of the STORM

This video taken by David Chisham in Rockville, Md., demonstrates the intensity of Thursday afternoon’s storm.


SAFETY IN MIND:

Now that the severe storms have cleared, residents and drivers need to take several precautions, says Montgomery County Emergency response.

  • Stay off roads to allow emergency crews to clear roads and provide emergency assistance.
  • Help injured or trapped persons. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergencies.
  • Use care around downed power lines. Assume a downed wire is a live wire.
  • Watch out for overhead hazards such as broken tree limbs, wires and other debris.
  • Avoid walking into flood waters. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewerage, contain downed power lines or animals.
  • Look for hazards such as broken/leaking gas lines, damaged sewage systems, flooded electrical circuits, submerged appliances and structural damage. Leave the area if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Clean everything that gets wet. For food, medicines and cosmetics, when in doubt, throw it out.
  • Make sure backup generators are well-ventilated. Never use grills, generators or camping stoves indoors.



CLOSINGS AND DELAYS

Montgomery County Public Schools will open as scheduled on Friday, except for the following schools which are closed due to power loss: Sligo Middle School and Blair Ewing Center. As a reminder, Friday is a half-day.

WTOP is posting closings and delays on its Closings and Delays page.


Weather (Courtesy of WJLA)

(Courtesy of WJLA)

THE FORECAST

Friday:
Partly Cloudy and Comfortable
Highs: Around 80
Wind: NW 10-15 m.p.h.

Saturday:
Mostly Sunny and Warm
Highs: Low to Mid 80s
Wind: Light


AIRPORTS

Check the status of flights on the FAA’s Flight Delay page and check with your airline for possible delays.

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Clarification: This story has been changed to reflect that an ice arena near Derwood in Montgomery County suffered no damage. Preliminary reports sent to the National Weather Service said that its roof was damaged from the storm.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.


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