D.C. storm 2012: Power out for thousands, damage reported throughout D.C. area
Updated: July 1, 2012 - 09:52 pm
At least nine people have been confirmed dead as a result of the violent, fast-moving storm that pummeled the greater D.C. area late Friday night, and more than a million people throughout the area remain without power into a very hot Saturday afternoon.
The severe storms, which began pushing through the area at about 10:30 p.m. Friday, is called a "derecho," which is a very strong, widespread and straight-line band of thunderstorms that mostly occur during the summer.
The storm forced both the District of Columbia and Virginia to declare states of emergency on Saturday.
REPORT YOUR DAMAGE: Send us your reports of storm damage in your neighborhood to add to our map.
"Every agency of government is mobilized to assist with clean-up and to ensure that our residents have access to cooling centers, water and any other emergency services that may be necessary," D.C. City Administrator Allan Lew said.
Damage from the storm ranged from toppled tree branches and power poles to crushed cars and damaged roofs. A viewer photo sent to ABC 7 shows that the storefront of a Shoppers Food Warehouse in Oxon Hill had its storefront ripped off, while ABC 7's Greta Kreuz reports that the steeple at a Kensington church fell onto the structure's roof.
Thankfully, power is beginning to be restored to key areas. Power has been fully restored at Hadley Hospital, ABC7 has learned.
Thousands of traffic signals, including 500 in Montgomery County alone, are out of services as well. Law enforcement officials are reminding drivers to treat out-of-service signals as 4-way stops.
DDOT spokesperson Monica Hernandez says the agency anticipates no rissidual issues for Monday morning rush: "We are estimating, come Monday morning 99 percent of traffic signals will be back in color," ABC7 has learned.
State of emergency and six dead in Virginia
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth of Virginia, saying that six people had been killed in the state as a result of the storm.
Fallen trees were blamed on two deaths in Springfield, Fairfax County emergency officials say. In one incident, a 26-year-old man was killed in his car when a tree fell onto it while he drove on Old Keene Mill Road near Bauer Drive. Officials identified him as Khiet Nguyen of Burke.
Officials say that another person, a 90-year-old woman, was killed in the Springfield area. She has not been identified.
Two other people were killed in Albemarle County as well as two more in Bedford County, officials say.
Man killed by live wires in Northwest D.C.
Police say Mohammad Ghafoorian, 67, was electrocuted outside his home on Woodland Drive NW late Friday night. MPD officials say he went outside after a power line fell on his Maserati igniting a fire about 11:15 p.m., but he apparently didn't realize there were live wires. He was shocked, collapsed, and died.
His wife came out to help him and she got shocked too. She remains in critical condition but is expected to survive.
At least two killed in Maryland
A man was also killed in Anne Arundel after a tree crashed into a vehicle in the 400 block of Harwood Road, west of Richardson Road at about 11:30 p.m. The victim was identified as Kevin Alan O'Brien, 25 years of Edgewater.
Montgomery County Police say that a 71-year-old woman was found dead inside a home in the 1000 block of Grant Avenue in Silver Spring on Saturday morning. Officials say a large maple tree fell through the roof and onto her bed overnight.
Lightning destroys house in Frederick
In Frederick, a home in the 10000 block of Masser Road was destroyed when it was struck by lightning. No one was injured in the fire, which caused $550,000 worth of damage.
The homeowner, his wife and a dog were able to escape the house unharmed, they tell ABC 7, but the house is considered a total loss.
Water conservation in effect, 911 centers down
Numerous municipalities are asking residents to conserve water. In Montgomery and Prince George's County, a pair of water filtration systems were knocked offline by the storm. Water is still safe to drink, but officials are asking people to not use too much.
The same goes in Charles County, where water operations were disrupted by the storm as well.
Emergency operations officials in Prince William and Fairfax counties also report that their 911 systems are down. In Fairfax County, people with emergencies are being told to report them in person at fire and police stations.
D.C. Water spokeswoman Pamela Mooring said "the Washington Aqueduct is operating as usual- they have no restrictions on water intake, treatment or distribution."
DC Water is also operating as usual, with no issues. There are generators at pump station locations in case of outages, but we have power throughout, Mooring told ABC7.
Loudoun Water instituted mandatory water restrictions for residents of the Beacon Hill and Lenah Run communities.
Due to extremely high temperatures this week, water consumption has been at its highest for the year. While the water is safe to drink, the damage and power outages are impacting our ability to keep the Beacon Hill and Lenah Run Community Water Systems supplied at this time, Loudoun Water said.
Dozens of cooling centers are opening around the region as well for those without air conditioning or power. You can find the growing list here.
Vital power company information
Thousands remain without power in the greater D.C. area, and we're tracking it for you. If you have an outage to report, you can call the following numbers:
Here's a breakdown of each company and how many customers they're reporting out of power as of 9:45 p.m. Sunday. Click on the name of the company to get more detailed information.
Pepco says it has restored power to all high-voltage transmission lines and all substations, a major step in getting power back to customers.
However, the utility says extensive damage caused by Friday's storms means it could be a week before all customers have power restored. Right now, the company estimates that power will be restored to 90 percent of its customers by 11 p.m., Friday, July 6. This estimate will be updated on Wednesday.
Crews are arriving from the Carolinas Sunday, and mutual assistance crews from southern states will arrive Monday to help with the restoration effort.
Pepco says all water pumping plants have been restored.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is urging residents to remain calm and patient as utility crews work to restore power to electric customers in the state.
McDonnell said Sunday the recovery from the destructive storm is moving forward but is being hampered by lack of out-of-state crews who are handling their own downed power lines.
McDonnell said the storms and temperatures flirting with triple digits are creating a "very dangerous situation" across the state.
Virginia Dominion Power said the storms have now created the third-largest power restoration effort in the utility's history.
Crews are heading to Virginia from Quebec to assist the utility's crews.
More severe weather Saturday?
The weather isn't set to let up, either. A heat advisory remains in place for the remainder of Saturday after being downgraded from an Excessive Heat Warning. Another line of thunderstorms is possible as the day goes on as well.
As Friday night turned into Saturday morning, problems with WSSC water filtration plants in Montgomery and Prince George's counties forced an order from the utility to use water only when necessary.
In the meantime, the six major power companies that serve the greater Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas are reporting more than 1.41 million customers remain without power. Officials from Pepco, BGE and Dominion have already said that they expect customers to be in the dark for days.
A Park Police officer was injured by an uprooted tree in Fairfax County, and an 18-year-old man was struck by a power line, officials say. He was in stable condition after receiving CPR, she said.
All indoor activities, including community use activities in Fairfax Schools are canceled for Saturday.
Power has been restored to all George Mason University campuses. Classes, administrative offices, events, camps, and extracurricular activities will resume as scheduled this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. unless cancelled or rescheduled by the event coordinator.
What is a derecho?
A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of tornadoes, the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath.
As a result, the term "straight-line wind damage" sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.
Courtesy of NOAA, here's a look at the derecho's progression toward the greater Washington area on Friday night:
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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