Heavy Winds Blamed for at Least 1 Death

Trees, power lines knocked down throughout area

PURCELLVILLE, Va. -- Strong winds are blowing down trees and power lines across the Washington region, causing at least one death Wednesday.
The Rev. Michael C. Kelly, 53, a Roman Catholic priest, was killed Wednesday morning when he was struck by a fallen tree, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office. Kelly, pastor at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, was killed while attempting to move another tree from Harmony Church Road, authorities said. He was driving on Harmony Church Road at about 9 a.m. when he came upon the downed tree and got out of his car to move it.
In Maryland, a 2-year-old boy was injured by a fallen tree branch in Kensington, according to the Montgomery County Fire Department. The child and his mother were in the back yard of their home in the 9800 block of Connecticut Avenue when the branch fell and struck the boy at about 9:30 a.m.
Medics revived the boy, who was in cardiac arrest. He was hospitalized in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
Alexandria, Va., officials canceled the New Year's Eve fireworks show planned for Wednesday night because of the high winds.
Route 50 was closed between Parsons Road and Sam Fred Road in Loudoun County, Va., because of fallen utility lines. There was no estimated time for reopening.
High winds have brought down power lines and forced the closure of U.S. 15 in both directions at South Jefferson Street in Frederick, Md., according to the Frederick Police Department. Allegheny Power had to cut power to the area to repair the damage. The four-lane highway is a busy commuter route used by people traveling between Interstate 270 and the city, and by residents of communities north and south of Frederick.
In the 2800 block of Q Street in northwest D.C., a tree fell on a house, causing some damage but no injuries. Not far away a large tree fell at the corner of 45th and Warren streets. A utility pole snapped as well, causing power outages in the area. Nearby light poles also went crashing down.
An NBC viewer from North Springfield, Va., took pictures of several trees knocked onto a fence by strong wind.
The dangerous winds resulted in power outages to thousands of homes and businesses across the area. In Maryland, Baltimore Gas and Electric reported more than 2,000 customers without power. There were more than 15,000 Pepco customers without power. And in Virginia, there were about 20,000 customers without electricity.
Fallen trees near Towson blocked light rail trains, while a tree tangled in overhead lines forced MARC passengers near Baltimore to change trains, according to the Maryland's Transit Administration.
There is no light rail service between the Lutherville and Falls Road stops because of fallen trees on Ruxton Road, according to the MTA. Shuttle bus service is being provided.
MARC train 423 ended service at BWI Airport after a tree fell on overhead lines and signals stopped working, causing a delay of more than an hour. Passengers were transferred to the 427 train.
A wind advisory has been issued for most of the Washington region until 10 p.m. Winds up to 30 mph were expected, and gusts up to 55 mph were possible.
A snow squall quickly blew through the area Wednesday morning.
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