Storms knock out power, leave damage in wake

On Prospect Street in Georgetown, a huge tree is down.(WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
A downed Georgetown tree in D.C. (WTOP/Langdon Towne)
A downed Georgetown tree in D.C. (WTOP/Langdon Towne)
(WTOP/Langdon Towne)
A downed tree in Columbia, Md. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
A downed tree in Columbia, Md. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
A downed tree in Columbia, Md. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
Pepco crews working to clear debris and restore power in Derwood, Md., on Redland Road.(Courtesy Tom Risen)
Northwest residents firing up the generators. (WTOP/Mark Segraves)
Truck crushed near 49th Street in Northwest. (WTOP/Mark Segraves)
Huge tree has taken down power lines and blocks 49th St. Northwest. (WTOP/Mark Segraves)
Tree takes down power lines and forces closure of Reno Road NW at Tilden. (WTOP/Mark Segraves)
A tree uprooted in Charles County, Md. (WTOP/Darci Marchese)
(WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
Cars line up for gas on River Road in Northwest D.C. (WTOP Traffic)
Tree falls on a wire in the 8500 block of Springvale Road in Montgomery County. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
(WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
A woman died in her Springfield, Va. home when a tree fell on her house. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
(WTOP/Megan O'Rourke)
The cleanup begins in Montgomery County after heavy storms whipped the region. (WTOP/Laurie Cantillo)
An enormous tree toppled over and took out a picket fence on Brookville Road in Chevy Chase, Md. (WTOP/Laurie Cantillo)
A tree fell on a car on Georgetown Pike, near Leigh Mill Road in Fairfax County. (WTOP/JimBattagliese)
Fallen tents at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Friday night's storm, as seen from the D.C. side of the Potomac by the 14th Street bridge. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
derecho 2012 Friday night's storm crosses the Potomac at the 14th Street bridge. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
derecho 2012 Officials in Northern Virginia have done a lot of work in the five years since the derecho to make sure that 911 systems don't fail again.(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
This tree fell onto Guilford Road in Maryland. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
A downed tree on Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia, Md. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
A familiar sight in Chevy Chase, Md. Trees are blocking roads in multiple locations. (WTOP/Laurie Cantillo)
A downed tree blocked Brookville Road at Thornapple Street in Chevy Chase, Md. (WTOP/Laurie Cantillo)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
Trees fell throughout the D.C. area during the storm Friday night. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)
More damage from the line of severe thunderstorms that swept through the D.C. area Sunday. This was Fredericksburg Sunday afternoon. (Courtesy William Beeken)
This tree was toppled by winds Sunday evening during the severe thunderstorms that hit the region. (Courtesy Manny Centeno)
Some of the damage seen in Fredericksburg, Va. following the line of severe storms that hit the D.C. area Sunday. (Courtesy William Beeken)
A power pole snapped in Fredericksburg, Va. (Courtesy Sue Ottinger Bullock via Twitter)
(Dave Dildine/WTOP)
Here is the damage done to WTOP accountant Gabriel Franco's car. He and his family were in the car when the tree crashed down on it.
Gabriel Franco's car.
Gabriel Franco's car.
Pictures of the damage from Friday night.
BGE gets help from out-of-state linemen in the efforts to restore electricity on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Summer Storms A car sits, crushed by a fallen tree, on Carrington Road in Lynchburg, Va., July 1, 2012. Two days after storms tore across the eastern U.S., power outages were forcing people to get creative to stay cool in dangerously hot weather. Temperatures approached 100 degrees in many storm-stricken areas, and utility officials said the power will likely be out for several more days. (AP Photo/The News & Advance, Parker Michels-Boyce)
Summer Storms A Lynchburg City worker ties power lines above a traffic signal at Oakley and Memorial Avenues, July 1, 2012. Two days after storms tore across the eastern U.S., power outages were forcing people to get creative to stay cool in dangerously hot weather. Temperatures approached 100 degrees in many storm-stricken areas, and utility officials said the power will likely be out for several more days. (AP Photo/The News & Advance, Parker Michels-Boyce)
Giovanny Alvarez
Georgetown Park is now open, near Leigh Mill Road. (WTOP/Jim Battaglese)
Tree in top of Mike Brown's house on Placid street in McLean in a neighborhood with no power for three days. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)
Georgetown Pike in Fairfax, Va. (WTOP/Jim Battagliese)
Summer Storms Tyler Taylor, 14, of Falls Church, Va., walks across a large downed tree in Falls Church, Va., Sunday, July 1, 2012. A severe storm late Friday knocked out power to approximately one million residents, traffic signals and businesses in the region. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
John, a lineman with BGE, has been putting in at least 14 hour days and guzzling two gallons of water. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
BGE working on downed power lines in Clarksville, Md. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
Trees down inbound Canal Road and Arizona Avenue. (WTOP/Langdon Towne)
Trees down at Upton and 37th streets in NW D.C. (WTOP/Langdon Towne)
Many homeowners are cleaning up downed trees. This one is in Alexandria. (WTOP/Ed Kelleher)
Power lines came down on East Taylor Run Parkway in Alexandria when a tree fell. Fortunately, no injuries were reported and no cars damaged. (WTOP/Ed Kelleher)
Summer Storm Damaged exhibit for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival litter the National Mall near the Washington Monument, background, in Washington Saturday, June 30, 2012 after a powerful storm swept across the Washington region late Friday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Lots of folks have been getting this message on their cellphones, prompting lots of frustration. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Here's another look at one of trees down in Georgetown. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)

How have you been handling the heat? Post a comment in this story, comment on WTOP’s Facebook Page or use #WTOPTalkback or #WTOP on Twitter.

Also, let us know whether power is on in your neighborhood. Join the conversation on Twitter using @WTOP.

WASHINGTON – Strong storms entered the D.C. region Sunday and left power outages in their wake. The storms, which were expected to break the area’s record-breaking heat wave with a cold front from the north, left tens of thousands without power and some severe damage in Northern Virginia.

Several Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued early Monday morning.

The areas affected include D.C., Arlington County, City of Alexandria, Prince George’s County, Frederick County, Fauquier County and Rappahannock County.

As of 3:15 a.m. Monday, the following power outages were reported in the D.C. region:

  • Dominion: 4,989 in Northern Virginia
  • Pepco: 1,600
  • BGE: 1,273 in Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties
  • SMECO: 9
  • Rappahannock 634
  • NOVEC: 18

Total: 8,523

Dominion Power spokesman Karl Neddenien tells WTOP that immediately following Sunday afternoon’s storm, 36,000 Northern Virginia customers were without power.

“We’ve been able to lower that number to about 27,000 by remotely switching the flow of electricity to different lines that were undamaged,” he says.

Neddenien did not provide a restoration estimate, but did say Sunday’s storm was not as intense nor did it impact as many customers as last week’s derecho.

They will have restoration estimates available once they complete damage assessment, he says.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Lasorsa says most of the severe damage occurred across the southern suburbs of D.C., with trees uprooted and reports of half-dollar-sized hail in the Fredericksburg, Va. area.

WTOP received several photos of buildings in the Fredericksburg area with severe damage.

Lasorsa says the weather service could send out a survey team to the area.

Heat Wave

The storm from the north will bring the region back to the “normal” range for much of next week. The front has already ushered in strong thunderstorms, that have already knocked out power to thousands in other states.

Before the storms arrived in the D.C. region, the heat record for July 8 was broken just after 1 p.m. when the temperature hit 101 degrees at Reagan National Airport. The previous record for July 8 was 100 degrees.

A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. There is also a Code Orange air quality alert, meaning air pollution levels could be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The heat record for July 7 was also broken when temperatures hit 105 degrees at Reagan National Airport, breaking the previous record of 102 set on the same date in 2010.

Saturday’s high temperature also nearly tied the previous all-time record high of 106 degrees.

Sunday is the 11th straight day of temperatures above 95 degrees in the D.C. region, officially setting a local record for the longest number of consecutive days of such oppressive heat.

“The previous sequential period was eight days,” says Matthew Kramer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“There have been strings of eight consecutive days of 95 or higher. The last one was in 2002,” he says.

It was hot last July, too. But Kramer says the difference is not how hot it got, but how long it stayed that way.

In July 2011, there was a stretch of six days when temperatures topped 95, then a couple days of normal temperatures, followed by another string of four days topping 95.

Normal temperatures for July in the D.C. region are between 71 and 88 degrees, Kramer says.

The National Weather Service does not forecast weather months in advance, but Kramer says the Climate Prediction Center is calling for “better than normal chances” that temperatures will be “above normal” for the next three months.

Maryland residents looking to take shelter from the oppressive heat should head to one of the many cooling centers open Saturday. Free rides will be given to anyone in need of transportation. Call 211 to arrange pick up, and click here for a full list of cooling centers.


MONDAY: Cooler and less humid. Partly sunny, with the chance of showers or storm. Highs in the low to mid 80s.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny with highs in the low to mid 80s. A risk of showers and thunderstorms.

Derecho Outages

Friday night marks one week since the electricity went off during that crazy storm that brought down trees and power lines, plunging 2.7 million in the Mid-Atlantic in the dark. One million of those outages were in the D.C. region.

BGE and Pepco are working on their final storm-related outages. They expect to have everyone whose power was knocked out by the storm restored on Sunday.

There are other heat-related power outages in the area. Homes and businesses without electricity should call their electric companies.

Rob Gould, vice president of Baltimore Gas and Electric, tells WTOP the remaining customers should have their power back on by Sunday. He describes the storm as “unprecedented.”

“This is almost akin to something that comes out of the blue,” Gould tells WTOP.

Pepco spokesman Clay Anderson says the remaining areas to be restored are the most labor intensive.

Conserve Electricity

Pepco is touting the fact that 99 percent of its customers now have power back.

But with many in the dark, or just getting the power back, Pepco spokesman Marcus Beal was asked on WTOP if anything could be done to “make nice” with customers who have dealt with the latest round of lengthy outages.

“I think we can make nice with the customers by closing out this last 1 percent as fast and as safely as possible. Once everyone has their power back on things can start to get back to normal,” Beal says.

Some customers may have to wait until 11 p.m. Sunday to get their power restored.

Pepco is urging people to conserve electricity. The utility predicts the system will be stressed with the high temperatures.

Here are some tips to conserve energy.

Mass Transit

Metro will let riders bring water on subway trains through Sunday


What about taxis? Do drivers have to turn on the air conditioning? The WTOP Answer Desk says the short answer is yes.


Questions are being raised about whether the Chesapeake Bay Bridge should have been closed during the storm. Maryland will prepare an after-action report, assessing how the state responded.

Keeping Cool

Keeping cool this weekend will be key to avoid heat-related illnesses.

In Arizona, folks know how to survive scorchers like this one. They offer up some survival tips.

Across the region, cooling centers are open.

In Montgomery County, the shelter at Richard Montgomery High School has closed. The county urges residents who are seeking relief to go to public facilities such as malls, libraries or recreation centers.

Homeless individuals seeking shelter, or others in need of crisis mental health services, should call the crisis center at 240-777-4000.


People aren’t the only ones that need to keep cool. Pets need to stay cool. Watch for signs of heat stroke in dogs. An expert offers tips to keep Fido cool.

Restoration Efforts and Investigations

Everybody grumbles when the electricity goes out. How well do the utilities think they’re doing? In Maryland, the utilities have to file major storm reports with the Public Service Commission 21 days after power is restored. The PSC will determine whether any action needs to be taken, after hearing from those who lost their power.

The PSC’s review comes after the Maryland Attorney General’s office received reports of gas and hotel price gouging. In Virginia, there’s a call for an investigation into the failure of the 911 system.

Should Power Lines Be Buried?

The debate over whether electric lines should be buried comes up with every major storm. There are pros and cons to the idea.

Phones and Cable

A Verizon spokeswoman tells WTOP the company has returned 99 percent of its customers to full service.

Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and Comcast all reported outage problems.

Insurance and Tree Removal Tips

Insurance professionals say homeowners whose properties sustained damage from the storm should document it. Get multiple estimates before having repairs made. Here are more insurance and tree removal tips.

Who pays for storm damage? WTOP gets the answer from Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Blood Donations Needed

Hospitals have issued an emergency call for blood donations after the storm.

Food Safety

Many people who lost power had to throw out the contents of their refrigerators and freezers. Learn about what some communities are doing with spoiled food and storm debris here.

Preparing for Any Storm

Every family like this one in Alexandria has a story to tell about storm and power outage.

Part of preparing for any storm is making sure you have a stash of non-perishable foods.

Whether it’s a storm or some other type of disaster, WTOP’s Emergency Guide offers advice for every scenario. A battery-operated radio should be part of any emergency kit, as should flashlights, fresh batteries, a corded telephone, fully charged cellphone, bottled water and non-perishable foods.

Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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