Home Emergency Management News Severe Storms Drench Washington Region, Leaving Thousands Without Power

Severe Storms Drench Washington Region, Leaving Thousands Without Power

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Trees were downed, thousands lost power, and a microburst or weak tornado may have struck downtown Washington as severe weather swept through the region on Thursday.

Strong winds claimed part of at least two roofs in the city: one on a three-story apartment building in the 2600 block of Stanton Road SE and another at St. Aloysius Church near Gonzaga College High School in the unit block of I Street NW.

There were no injuries in either incident, but Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department, said animal control officers were among the emergency responders at the Washington View apartment building, where part of the roof came off and ended up in nearby woods.

"They probably needed someone to take their animal while they figure out how to sleep tonight," Buchanan said. The storm left some residents displaced, he said.

Steve Langevin, a spokesman at Gonzaga, a private school, said that the church's sanctuary was not exposed but that part of the roof was "torn off almost as if it was peeled back." He said the rain stopped shortly after the wind damage occurred, preventing further water damage.

"We're thankful for the moment the rain has held off," said Stephen Neill, Gonzaga's vice president for alumni and advancement. "It's not only a treasure to Gonzaga, but to the whole city."

Microbursts are strong, downward bursts of air from thunderstorms.

The storm also damaged cherry blossom trees that struggled in recent weeks from cold temperatures.

After concerns that their blossoms might not survive, the cherry trees and other varieties along the Tidal Basin were downed near the paddleboat parking area, according to the National Park Service.

Trees were also claimed — and, in some cases, wrought destruction — in other parts of the region. In Annandale, a tree plowed into a four-story apartment in the 4300 block of Americana Drive. In Arlington, a tree just missed a home in the 1400 block of North Wakefield Street and resulted in a street closure. No one was injured.

At the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, part of the Macy's storefront collapsed on a car, leaving one person with minor injuries.

The storm also wreaked havoc on power grids and commutes. About 10,000 Pepco customers lost power in Maryland, while about 11,000 Dominion customers were blacked out in Fairfax County, according to outage maps. Outages also were reported in the District, but most throughout the region were restored by late afternoon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reported two-mile delays on southbound Interstate 395 in Arlington and on Interstate 95 in Prince William County as the midday storm moved through. Brock Bridge Road in Laurel also was closed because of standing water, according to Prince George's County police.

moyerj@washpost.com

Perry Stein and Jacob Bogage contributed to this report.

 

This article was written by Justin Wm. Moyer from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.