Deadly Storms Cause Damage Across Area

Three people are dead after powerful storms raced through the Washington region Sunday afternoon.

Tornado warnings were issued for Howard and Montgomery counties as the deadly storms caused downed trees and power outages across the area.

One woman was killed and another woman was injured when a tree struck the van they were driving at about 3:30 p.m. near the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Paducah Road in Beltsville, Md.  Michelle Humanick, 44, of College Park, Md., was killed in the incident.  The survivor was transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

A 6-year-old boy died in Loudoun County after a piece of a tree fell and hit him.  It happened at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday on a walking path near Claude Moore Park in Sterling, Va.  The boy, Eric Lawson, was walking with his family when a large piece of a tree fell on him.  He was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.

Warren Douglas Smith, 63, was riding a personal watercraft a half-mile south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge when a storm blew in Sunday night. He was unable to reach the shore at Sandy Point State Park, and another man with him on another personal watercraft found him face down in the water, the Associated press reported. Smith was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center. 

Traffic lights remain out across the region.  In Montgomery County, officials said more than 200 traffic lights remained without power throughout the county early Monday.

Prince George's County fire spokesman Mark Brady blamed darkened traffic signals for about a dozen car crashes, the AP reported.

Remember, if lights are out at an intersection, treat the intersection as a four-way stop sign.  Traffic should stop in all directions and take turns.  This is true of all roads.

There were numerous reports of trees down throughout the area.  There was a report of about 25 trees down in a row in the area of Hay Road and Belmont Ridge Road in Ashburn, Va.  Another report had a large tree down on a house on Danville Court in Rockville, Md.  Tree damage was reported across Rockville.  In Washington, officials said there were more than 270 reports of fallen trees or very large limbs and parts of trees that caused damage. Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said about half a dozen homes were significantly damaged by falling limbs, and 10 boats overturned in the rivers that border the city. Three cars caught fire as a result of downed power lines.

Power outages resulting from the storm affected more than 430,000 customers, the AP reported. Officials said they hadn't had a similar large outage since those in the wake of Hurricane Isabel in 2003, when flooding and fallen trees caused even more massive outages and some customers went a week or more without power.

On Monday, regional utility Pepco reported more than 232,000 customers were still without power in Washington and neighboring Maryland counties. By Monday evening, Pepco reported 156,000 customers without power in Montgomery County, 26,000 in Prince George's County and 19,000 in D.C. Because the damage was so widespread, it was unclear when most people would get their power back, Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey said. The majority of customers are expected to have their power back by Thursday evening, and all customers are expected to have power by the end of Friday.

Baltimore Gas & Electric said about 28,000 customers were without service Monday afternoon after a total of about 112,000 lost power as a result of the storm. The utility expected the majority of customers to have power restored by Tuesday evening. Dominion Virginia Power reported that 6,900 customers were still without power, down from 94,000. The power company said it expected to have most of the power back on by Monday at midnight.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said he's frustrated with electric company officials for failing to provide more information about power outages that are affecting thousands of district residents as a result of Sunday's storm.

"People need some specifics and they need some fast response," Fenty said.

D.C. established relief centers for people who've lost power to cool off:

  • Deanwood Recreation Center, 1350 49th St. NE, Washington, D.C., 202-671-3077 
  • Emery Recreation Center, 5801 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-576-3211 
  • Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-282-2204 
  • Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center, 1743 Lincoln Road NE, Washington, D.C., 202-576-5642

In Fairfax County, fire department spokesman Daniel Schmidt said county firefighters responded to 22 fires in the storm's aftermath, and he attributed nine car accidents to the storm.

Two Metro stations on the Red Line experienced disruptions as a result of the storm. A fallen tree on the track between Shady Grove and Rockville slowed service between Shady Grove and Grosvenor. The Forest Glen station was temporarily closed due to a power problem affecting station equipment.

Metro said riders may see some more crowded rail cars Monday morning because the power losses across the region knocked out electricity to rail yards and stations, which significantly hindered Metro staff from being able to provide maintenance to rail cars and to have rail cars at proper locations to dispatch trains this morning. Scheduled system maintenance was canceled last night to allow staff to focus efforts on restoring rail cars and the power systems that run the railroad.

Other storm reports from across the region:

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