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Expect gusty winds as Michael’s remnants exit the DC area

WASHINGTON — Expect a windy Friday as the remnants of Michael move off the east coast after inflicting catastrophic damage in the Florida panhandle and severe flash floods in southern Virginia.

The National Weather Service (NWS) expects winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour in Michael’s wake, with the strongest winds most likely early in the morning. Rain had cleared the region by daybreak — and Friday should be mostly sunny with milder temperatures more typical of autumn.

In addition to the wind advisory, a flood warning continues for parts of Prince George’s and Charles counties in Maryland until 5 p.m. Friday.

Due to the weather, schools in Charles and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland, in addition to Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George counties in Virginia opened two hours late.


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A weather sensor near the U.S. Capitol measured a gust of 49 miles per hour around 2 a.m., and buoys throughout the Chesapeake Bay recorded gusts over 60 miles per hour shortly after midnight.

Winds this strong are more than enough to fell trees and down power lines — and several thousand customers were without power on Friday morning.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management said that one-half million Virginians were without power on Friday morning, with the largest impacts in the Richmond and Norfolk areas. The most widespread impacts in the WTOP listening area were south of D.C., especially in Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Stafford County in Virginia, where around 2,200 customers were in the dark as of noon.

A spokesperson for Dominion Energy said most people should have their power back by later this evening.

SMECO and BGE were still working to restore power for around 1,400 customers without power in St. Mary’s and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland, with lights estimated to go back on by Friday night.

Downed trees, transmission lines, and residual street flooding caused localized traffic woes for commuters this morning. Fairfax County police reported road closures due to downed trees in residential neighborhoods.

In Annapolis, Maryland, Admiral Drive between Captains Circle and Jennifer Road was closed due to downed wires, and police cautioned it could remain closed “for an extended period of time.


Power outages:


Michael left behind “unimaginable destruction” in Florida’s panhandle after making landfall Wednesday. Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the high-end Category 4 brought terrifying winds equivalent to a powerful tornado, splintering homes and submerging neighborhoods.

It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly 50 years. The storm was strong enough that it reshaped the coastline, carving out new inlets along coastal Florida.

Though the decaying storm is racing off to the northeast on its way to Europe as a post-tropical cyclone, its remnants will cause high surf and contribute to coastal flooding along the Mid-Atlantic for days.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Thursday afternoon while the storm approached the waterlogged mid-Atlantic. Portions of southern Virginia and much of the Carolinas had only recently experienced historic rainfall from Hurricane Florence.

Thursday night saw flash flood emergencies in Virginia — the most severe type of flood warning issued by NWS. Videos from Danville, Virginia showed streets becoming rapids and water breaking through storefronts:

Virginia authorities said four people drowned and a firefighter was killed, raising Michael’s total death toll to 11.


Forecast:

It’s mid-October, and it finally feels like autumn is here.

“Make sure to grab the jacket as you head out on your Friday,” said NBC Washington meteorologist Amelia Draper. “Michael, as well as a cold front, have exited the area to the east, so today will be dry but temperatures will only be in the 60s during the day with a breeze as well.”

Friday: Mostly sunny, breezy and windy. Highs in the low to mid 60s. Gusts to 50 miles per hour possible in the morning, gradually becoming calm into the evening.

Tonight: Partly to mostly cloudy and brisk. Lows in the 40s.

Saturday: Scattered showers possible for the morning, otherwise mostly cloudy through the afternoon. Highs in the mid 50s.

Sunday: Partly sunny and comfortably cool, with highs in the low to mid 60s.

Monday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy and warmer, with highs from the mid 60s to low 70s.


WTOP’s Jennifer Ortiz, Jack Pointer and Teta Alim contributed to this report.


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