Microburst does heavy damage to buildings in Spotsylvania County

Here's what's left of a dance studio in Spotsylvania County. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Spotsylvania County is cleaning up after powerful storms Sunday. (WTOP Photo)
Sunday brought frightening winds and damage to businesses and homes in Spotsylvania County. (WTOP Photo)
The National Weather Service will look into whether a tornado ripped through Spotsylvania County. (WTOP Photo)
The storm did some horrific damage south of Fredericksburg. (WTOP/Kristi King)
This side of the home was lifted off its foundation. The dance studio roof landed on the opposite corner. (WTOP/Kristi King)
A power line in Fairfax County burns in a broken tree limb. It exploded in a big poof and then the fire started. (WTOP/Hillary Howard)

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – As outages were being repaired across the D.C. region after Sunday’s microburst, a tripped breaker and a fallen tree added thousands more late Tuesday night.

Pepco said the tree fell at MacArthur Boulevard and Reservoir Road NW.

The National Weather Service declared the powerful storm that blew apart buildings south of Fredericksburg Sunday evening to be a microburst.

Some witnesses thought the severe thunderstorm had produced a tornado, the Free Lance-Star reports. But the Sterling-based weather service office announced Monday that it was in fact a microburst, with winds up to 80 mph.

Seven people were injured as the storm tore off the roof and forced cinder block walls at the Cheer Fusion Dance Studio to collapse.

At least 20 people were inside when the storm struck, Spotsylvania County Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief Mark Kuechler says.

Four people had to be taken to the hospital, and two — a 40-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman — remain there with broken bones. Both are expected to recover.

Kuechler says strong wind and falling trees damaged several other homes and buildings.

Spotsylvania County spokeswoman Kathy Smith says it’s “miraculous” the injuries were not worse.

Smith says people need to pay attention to the weather alerts that come out.

“Have a plan to remove people out of harm’s way should a storm approach,” Smith says.

Another microburst struck the D.C. area on Friday, June 22. That storm touched down in Prince George’s County, displacing as many as 80 residents.

Though both microbursts and tornadoes produce severe winds, the storms differ in terms of direction. The Free Lance-Star reports that while a tornado will rotate, a microburst will produce straight winds descending from a storm. And unlike path- carving tornados, microbursts are confined to small areas.

Across the WTOP listening area, the storm caused thousands of outages.

As of 3:15 a.m. Tuesday the following power outages were reported, including new outages from Monday night:

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

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

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