Wind Knocks Down Trees, Knocks Out Power

Much of the area is being cleaned up again after it was whipped by the wind Friday afternoon.

After a line of storms -- sometimes severe enough to warrant warnings -- passed, skies began to clear and winds became very strong. Gusts of 60 mph were reported in D.C. In the suburbs, gusts of 65 mph were reported.

Fallen trees and branches and power outages have been reported throughout the area. Pepco reported 44,000 customers without power at 4 p.m., mostly in Montgomery County. As of 6 p.m., Pepco had restored power to about 20,000 customers, the utility said. Dominion Power reported 26,000 customers in the dark. Officials said Dominion crews would work through the night and eastern region crews will be brought in to help Saturday morning. Most customers should have their power back Saturday, but some might not get it back until Sunday.

D.C. Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer said the roof of a three-story apartment building was damaged and roofing materials also blew off a church, the Associated Press reported.

Signal problems between Union Station and Rockville delayed service on MARC's Brunswick Line, the Maryland Transit Administration said.

A utility pole fell on Metro tracks near the New York Avenue station in D.C., causing Red Line delays.

For the second time in a week, high winds ripped the face off an iconic highway sign for Potomac Mills mall just off Interstate 95 in Woodbridge, Va., InsideNoVa.com reported. The southbound-facing sign was ripped down Friday afternoon. On Saturday, the northbound-facing sign came down when winds reached 65 mph. A mall spokeswoman said that both times the sign pieces fell along guardrails on I-95

The Maryland Transportation Authority restricted some traffic across the Bay Bridge due to winds reaching almost 50 mph. Officials warned that travel delays are possible. The restrictions affect some vehicles with trailers, campers or recreational vehicles. Police help turn around some of those vehicles that aren't allowed to cross the bridge. In addition, authorities said they would not allow two-way traffic on the bridge until the winds subside.

Near Baltimore, high winds freed a ship and crane barge from their moorings. The 1,000-foot Atlantic Companion drifted away from the Dundalk Marine Terminal and into the channel, then ran aground, Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Brazzell said. Four tug boats are helping the ship back to the terminal. Around the same time, an 80-foot crane barge broke free and drifted into the Coast Guard base in Curtis Bay, grazing a dock in the yard before it was stopped. There was little damage reported and tug boats are towing it away, Brazzell said.

The high winds prompted the Maryland Port Authority to shut down Seagirt Marine Terminal, the state's primary container terminal.

Looking ahead, it will be a cool and dry weekend with another chance of rain and wind on Monday. Monday's storms could be severe, and the winds could be stronger than they were Friday.

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