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Posted at 06:45 PM ET, 06/29/2012

Destructive storms roll through D.C. area; Power outages, damage reports throughout region (LIVE BLOG)

12:54 AM UPDATE: What a night. And it looks like the storm’s effects could linger. Alas. With that, we’re wrapping up our live blog for the night. Thanks for following. And watch this space beginning early tomorrow for the very latest on the aftermath of the storms, power outages and the like. Stay safe and stay cool everyone! @TheoTypes out.

12:44 AM UPDATE: A last word from @CapitalWeather via Twitter:

“W/ mass power outages, no AC, & extreme heat Sat, please take it easy, hydrate & check on older adults. Serious heat illness risk.

Thanks to everyone for following our updates & sending reports/photos. Please be safe and check for more coverage Saturday.”

And a late feed from Michael Rosenwald:

“Storm apparently took down Amazon’s cloud in northern va. The cloud there serves Netflix, pinterest and Instagram, as well as other popular services. Those services reporting outages.

http://venturebeat.com/2012/06/29/amazon-outage-netflix-instagram-pinterest/

12:39 AM UPDATE: The latest from Pepco: 404K customers without power. Also, the National Weather Service has cancelled its current thunderstorm watch, which was slated to run through 1 a.m.

12:36 AM UPDATE: WMATA has just given a status update on its rail and bus lines via a flurry of tweets. Here they are:

“Red Line suspended btwn Shady Grove & Grosvenor due to weather-related power outage. Bus shuttles en route, delayed due to weather. 12:21a”

and,

“Orange Line service single-tracking btwn West Falls & Dunn Loring. Rail btwn Vienna & Stadium. Shuttles Stadium-New Carrollton 12:15a”

and,

“Blue Line shuttle service *may* extend beyond to stations to Largo, based on weather and line conditions. 12:13a”

and,

“Blue Line service running btwn Franconia & Stadium. Shuttle buses from Stadium to Benning Rd. 12:12a”

and,

“Yellow & Green Line service operating with delays due to weather & speed restrictions. 12:11a”

12:31 AM UPDATE: Was just talking to Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow, who is winding down for the night. He notes that tomorrow could pose significant problems for much of the region as power outages continue and the heat cranks up to triple digits. Definitely something to watch for (and plan for).

12:28 AM UPDATE: Here’s a dispatch from Anne Midgette, our classical music critic. She was taking in a concert at Wolf Trap tonight when the storms hit.

“Don Giovanni survived tonight at Wolf Trap. In the middle of Act II, as Donna Elvira was gearing up for her big aria, the lights began flickering as if to mirror the storm outside, and then died, leaving the young singer -- Olivia Vote -- in darkness. A technician appeared and asked the audience to give them a couple of minutes to fix the problem; eventually Kim Pensinger Witman, the company’s director, came on stage, lit by flashlights and the glow of exit signs powered by emergency generators. Witman initially asked people to wait five minutes, then gamely faced facts, taking the stage with Craig Irvin, who had played the title role in Mozart’s opera, and pointing out that tonight, for a change, he got to live rather than being dragged down to Hell. He’ll have another chance on Sunday afternoon -- if the power goes back on.”

12:24 AM UPDATE: Reporters Clarence Williams and Martin Weil have a story on tonight’s action. We just posted it. Here it is:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/severe-thunderstorms-strike-dc-region/2012/06/29/gJQAp2mmCW_story.html

12:21 AM UPDATE: Another “tree down” photo from Capital Weather Gang’s Facebook page. Yikes. https://www.facebook.com/#!/capitalweather/posts/168529376613364

12:19 AM UPDATE: Capital Weather tweets “A day/night DC will remember for long time. Hottest June day on record & one of most massive tstorm outbreaks w/ widespread 60-80 mph winds.”

12:15 AM UPDATE: Lori Montgomery in NW D.C. reports, “Hit about 10:30. Went from dead calm and 100 degrees to scary winds and lightening in seconds. Power immediately flickered off on albemarle and alton and points south toward udc. Then the rain hit. Now growing dark and quiet.”

12:13 AM UPDATE: Anne Ferguson-Roher emailed to tell us that, “Opera at wolf trap cancelled mid act two when power in theater went out. Don Giovanni survived tonight, said Kim Witman.”

12:09 AM UPDATE: Lots of Washington Post colleagues giving reports around the region. Among the dispatches:

Monica Norton: “Le-Ha Anderson with Dominion. More than 450,000 customers without power in NOVA. Will be several days before everyone gets their lights on.”

Monica also notes: “Dan Stessel with Metro talking on NBC4. Biggest problems on the Red Line between Shady Grove and Grosvenor. There’s no third rail power between the stations. Isolated incidents on other lines. Isolated station outages. 17 of 86 with outages. Buses encountering downed trees.”

Michael Rosenwald: “Vast stretches of Wisconsin Ave from Georgetown to Rockville on 355 are without power. The darkness is surreal. Large strip malls cannot even be seen from the road.”

Scott Vance: “In Waldorf, the sudden wind was strong enough to shatter a sliding glass door, leaving a kitchen open to the wind and rain.

Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli checked in with this: “Trees down along Mass Ave from Mosque above Rock Creek (car under a fallen tree, no sign of injuries) and in front of Naval Observatory. Road closed and detours set up.”

12:05 AM UPDATE: Another blurry-but-dramatic photo of damage retweeted by @CapitalWeather: “RT @ SatirclAlx: Picture as promised...crushed cars, live downed power lines, police on scene. http://twitpic.com/a22xnu

Some good news from WMATA: “Blue Line service has been restored between Largo Town Center & Addison Road. Earlier power outage resolved.”

12:02 AM UPDATE: WMATA reports delays on virtually all train lines and many bus lines.

11:58 PM UPDATE: Our Emily Ingram (@emilyingram) has tweeted a screenshot of Pepco’s power outage map. Alas, I see plenty of red. https://twitter.com/emilyingram/status/218914017098465283

11:56 PM UPDATE: ABC7’s Ryan Miller says the NWS reports one fatality and three injuries from a tree toppling onto a vehicle in Springfield. Here’s the advisory language: “*** 1 FATAL, 3 INJ *** TREE ON CAR IN SPRINGFIELD. MULTIPLE ROOF CAVE INS.”

11:52 PM UPDATE: Tweets @mymxwx “Dan Satterfield: Bay Bridge has been closed one vehicle at least overturned.”

11:49 PM UPDATE: For those currently without power (read: A/C), tomorrow’s forecast high is 100 degrees. Ugh.

11:46 PM UPDATE: Pepco’s latest outage map reflects some 380K “affected” customers.

11:45 PM UPDATE: @CapitalWeather retweets this from @TheMeaser: Tons of trees down in Kensington, MD. Sporadic power outages. http://twitpic.com/a22rp1

11:40 PM UPDATE: Latest from WMATA. “Red Line service remains suspended btwn Grosvenor & Shady Grove due to a power outage.”

Also,

“Orange Line trains are single tracking btwn Dunn Loring & West Falls Church due to a downed tree. Expect delays due to weather conditions.”

Also,

“Metrobus service is subject to delays on all lines due to severe weather. Please travel only if necessary.”

11:37 PM UPDATE: Pepco spokesperson already predicting this will be a “multi-day outage,” according to ABC7.

11:35 PM UPDATE: Hearing reports of particularly widespread power outages in Silver Spring/Takoma Park area.

11:33 PM UPDATE: Quick search of tweets geo-tagged to the D.C. area finds trees down: 1500 Block of D St. NE, Cedar Road off of Rockville Pike, 16th and Perry in D.C., 8th Street near Eastern Market.

11:29 PM UPDATE: Pepco says some 340K customers are without power.

11:27 PM UPDATE: To recap: Storms packing wind gusts of nearly 80 mph have just blown through the D.C.-Baltimore region. We’re getting lots of reports of power outages and some damage (Exactly how much is unclear). Metro reports that they have no power at some stations. They have sent trains back to origin points because of the weather.

In addition, our own intrepid Capital Weather Gang meteorologist Jason Samenow is tweeting as his own power is out. Mobile Editor Theodore Kim here jockeying the action.

11:24 PM UPDATE: 60+ mph wind gusts being reported at BWI airport, says the NWS.

11:23 PM UPDATE: @WMATA:“Many Metrorail trains being returned to their endpoints due to the storm and related damage. 11:13p”

11:20 PM UPDATE: *Lots* of tweeters across the region are reporting power outages and minor damage, such as trees down. CNN is reporting more than 2 million people are without power in six states because of tonight’s far-reaching severe weather.

11:17 PM UPDATE: Tweets @CapitalWeather: “Worst of storms now east of Va, headed into Anne arundel and calvert counties in Md.” The question now is, What has this storm left behind? We’re endeavoring to find out.

11:15 PM UPDATE: Tweets @DougHillABC7: “On my home weather center Doppler Radar just detected a 92 mph wind shear over Gaithersburg. These storms are the real deal.”

11:11 PM UPDATE: Tweets @CapitalWeather: “Incredible: 79 mph gust reported in Reston from NwS.” By comparison, a hurricane has 74 mph sustained winds.

11:08 PM UPDATE: Jeremy Bowers just shared with us a crazy video of the harsh weather from Downtown D.C. Here’s the link: https://twitter.com/jeremybowers/status/218901737711476736

11:07 PM UPDATE: WMATA says Ppwer outages at several Metrorail stations, including Vienna, New Carrollton, Glenmont, Wheaton, Bethesda, PG Plaza, Minnesota Av, Takoma.

11:06 PM UPDATE: Tweets @CapitalWeather: “Reports of wind damage near reston and w montgomery co from nws. Both cwg editors lost power, updating from mobile devices.”

Also, we’re getting reports of plenty of power outages. Here are links to all the power company outage maps, courtesy of Jason Samenow.

Pepco power outages: http://www.pepco.com/home/emergency/maps/stormcenter/

BGE power outages:
http://www.bge.com/customerservice/stormsoutages/currentoutages/pages/default.aspx

Dominion: Northern Virginia: 275,904 outages out of 831,912 customers
https://www.dom.com/storm-center/northva.jsp


11:01 PM UPDATE: Also hearing of A 71 mph gust at Dulles Airport

11:00 PM UPDATE: Tweets Jason Samenow: “70 mph gust Reagan National airport, 66 mph gust quantico.” Wow.

10:58 PM UPDATE: Sorry for the delay. Our intrepid Jason Samenow has lost power. Mobile Editor Theodore Kim (@TheoTypes) here to take you through. We’re getting *lots* of reports of high gusts and some damage.

10:30 PM UPDATE: Reports of many trees down and roads blocked in Frederick, Md. and Bluemont, Va. (Loudoun co)

10:15 PM UPDATE: URGENT - SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR ALL OF METRO DC THROUGH 11:15 PM FOR POSSIBLE DESTRUCTIVE WINDS TO 80 MPH OR HIGHER. STAY INSIDE, AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

10:05 PM UPDATE: REPEATING: Potentially destructive storms with winds to 70 mph moving into western suburbs of D.C. Widespread power outages and tree damage likely. Many trees reported down near Berryville in Clarke Co. Capital Weather Watcher in Warren co. ERIC64 reports “incredible wind”. Twitter follower WVASPARTAN reports power out and 68 mph wind gust on home weather station in Charles Town, W. Va.

9:55 PM UPDATE: Severe thunderstorm warnings extend into western Fairfax and Prince William counties through 10:45 p.m. Damaging winds to 70 mph likely! Take these storms seriously. Reports of widespread power outages in western Maryland near Cumberland. National Weather Service reports tree on house near Winchester. A wind gust of 61 mph was reported in Winchester. Storms will probably arrive inside beltway around 11:00 p.m.

OVERVIEW, from 6:45 p.m.: A derecho - a large, long-lived line of fast moving, violent thunderstorms - is headed towards the Washington, D.C. metro region. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the D.C. area and a large region to the south and west through 1 a.m.

As the line moves through, wind gusts up to 80 mph are possible. This derecho has a history of producing damaging winds of 70-90 mph from Chicago through Columbus. Some hail is also possible. Dangerous lightning and torrential rain will also likely accompany these storms.

Link: Regional radar view

Monitor severe warnings issued by the National Weather Service and radar on our Severe Weather Tracking Station below. Also, comment below with conditions where you are.

Severe Weather Tracking Station
Warning Text: DC | MD | VA * NWS Local Storm Reports
Radar & Lightning: Movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here to see radar bigger.
    
LWX Warnings
Warnings: Severe alerts from National Weather Service. Updates w/o refresh (most browsers). Hint: Alert on map? Click matching label in key for details.

The worst of the storms may affect the southern half of the D.C. area, and it’s possible they weaken a bit before getting here crossing the mountains. On the other hand, they are running into a record hot, unstable air mass. So the potential exists for a serious event with widespread wind damage and power outages.

Timing: Storms could reach the west and southwest suburbs as early as 9-10 p.m. and the immediate metro region between 10 and midnight. The storms are moving very fast, at a 60+ mph clip.


Area covered by severe thunderstorm watch outlined in blue. Radar snapshot is from around 6:30 p.m. (NOAA)
Storm history: This derecho produced a 91 mph wind gust in Fort Wayne, Indiana and 72 mph gust in Columbus. The storm has knocked out power to more than 280,000 customers in Ohio and produced significant damage. Over 200 wind damage reports have resulted from this storm complex from Illionis to Ohio.

Link: gallery of storm damage images from Columbus.

Preparedness actions:Consider securing loose outdoor items and having flashlights ready for possible power outages.

EARLIER UPDATES:

9:45 PM UPDATE: Severe thunderstorm warning for all of Loudoun and Frederick counties and western Montgomery county til 10:30 pm for damaging winds to 70 mph. Storm racing E at 60 mph.

9:40 PM UPDATE: Severe thunderstorm warning for large section of western Va. along and east of I-81 through 10:15 PM for damaging winds to 70 mph. Includes Culpeper, the Plains, and Front Royal

9:20 PM UPDATE: While I said earlier storms may be strongest south of D.C., latest radar would indicate the most intense storms may span from Fairfax county on the south side to central and northern Maryland on the north side. The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the region’s risk level to the rare moderate category.

9:05 PM UPDATE: Reports are coming in of trees down all over Grant co., West Virginia (around Petersburg) - due west of D.C.- as storms get closer. Storm time of arrival 10 p.m. to midnight (west to east D.C. metro). Consider charging portable devices and cell phones now. Get flashlights ready. We are starting at mass power outage potential.

8:30 PM UPDATE: Storms are now racing into eastern West Virginia and west central Virginia (Staunton and Harrisonburg) where severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect. So far, the storms have not weakened appreciably. More than 800,000 customers without power from northwest Indiana through West Virgnia according to Twitter feed @emgis. An 88 mph wind gust was clocked at White Sulphur Springs, WV.

By and Theodore Kim  |  06:45 PM ET, 06/29/2012

Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

 
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