Severe storms leave outages, downed trees and wires in DC region

In Tysons, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the Arlington County Fire Department were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 1900 block of Hull Road around 9 p.m. on Wednesday. (Courtesy Fairfax County Fire and Rescue)

A tree fell through a chimney at a home in Falls Church, Virginia, during Wednesday’s storm. (Courtesy Tamara Somerville)

A tree fell through a chimney at a home in Falls Church, Virginia, during Wednesday’s storm. (Courtesy Tamara Somerville)

Rescue crews respond to a fire in Fulton, Maryland, reported to cause about $1 million in damage after it was struck by lightning. (Courtesy Howard County Fire and Rescue)

Rescue crews respond to a fire in Fulton, Maryland, reported to cause about $1 million in damage after it was struck by lightning. (Courtesy Howard County Fire and Rescue)

Rescue crews respond to a fire in Fulton, Maryland, reported to cause about $1 million in damage after it was struck by lightning. (Courtesy Howard County Fire and Rescue)

Lightning is seen in D.C. during Wednesday’s storm. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

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Severe thunderstorms struck the D.C. area Wednesday night, causing damaging winds, a fire and downed trees and wires.

The National Weather Service reported dozens of downed trees and wires throughout the region from a series of strong storms that moved through the national capital region from mid-afternoon to late evening Wednesday.

WTOP reporters and listeners shared images of ominous storm clouds rolling through metropolitan areas. As of 7 a.m. Thursday, Dominion Energy reported about 3,600 customers out of power, with most outages concentrated in northern Virginia.

Five schools in Frederick County, Maryland, will be closed Thursday because of power outages from the storms — Middletown Elementary, Parkway Elementary, Middletown Primary, Middletown Middle and Middletown High School. The county’s school system said a decision about extracurricular activities at those schools will be made later Thursday.

In D.C., a tree was reported down on Beach Drive near the intersection of Porter Street NW near the National Zoo. Several trees and wires also fell in Montgomery County and Chevy Chase, Maryland, on Maple and Wisconsin avenues.

A tree fell on a transformer in the 8000 block of Block River Road in Potomac, Maryland. Also in the area, a tree and wires were down and blocking a road at the intersection of Persimmon Tree Road and Holly Leaf Lane.

Winds caused a partial structure collapse of the frame of a new building under construction in the 3700 block of Crain Highway in Upper Marlboro.

In Virginia, trees were reported down near the intersection of James Madison Highway and Keith Road and on Crest Hill Road in Fauquier County.

Brenda Mantz of Falls Church told WTOP that a tree fell through the chimney of her home during the storm. They were not home at the time, and Fairfax County first responders assessed the damage and said there were no injuries.

In Howard County, Maryland, firefighters responded to a house fire in the 11000 block of Holstein Street in Fulton. Neighbors called 911 reporting the home had been struck by a bolt of lightning.

Howard County Fire and Rescue said that the home is uninhabitable and that damage is estimated at $1 million. There were no injuries, and the regional Red Cross is helping the residents who were displaced, according to a news release.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Mike Stinneford said wind gusts were reported as high as 80 mph in Occoquan in Prince William County, Virginia.

In Tysons, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the Arlington County Fire Department were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 1900 block of Hull Road around 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Units arrived on the scene of a two-story, single-family home with fire showing from the roof. Firefighters were able to rapidly extinguish the fire and no injuries were reported, according to a press release.

Four residents were home at the time of the fire and they heard a loud bang, saw a flash of lightning, and then smelled smoke, according to the release.

Fire investigators determined that the cause of the fire was a lightning strike.

The four residents were displaced and damages from the fire are estimated at $90,000, according to a release.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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