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Posted at 04:06 PM ET, 07/03/2012

D.C. storm aftermath: Live blog of outage updates, event cancellations and more

Follow live updates on the latest news about the D.C. storm and its aftermath.


9:39 p.m. Eight percent of the region still powerless

More than 155,000 customers - 8.2 percent of the region - had no electricity as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night. In Montgomery County, 21.5 percent of Pepco customers were still powerless, as were 14.1 percent of BGE’s customers in Prince George’s.


5:13 p.m. Va. adds one more fatality to heat-related deaths

Officials reported just now that there have been nine heat-related
deaths in Virginia since June 20.Officials released no other details.


4:06 p.m. Pepco: Downed wires a ‘priority’

At 4 p.m. we finally got a response from Pepco about the downed power lines around the Maryland suburbs we’ve been hearing so much about -- and it may not bring that much comfort to those who still have lines dangling or lying in their yards and streets.

Marcus Beal, Pepco’s senior project manager for its business transformation team, said he had forwarded the list of addresses we gave him to the “control center,” where they will be dealt with as a “priority.” He urged customers to be patient and not touch the wires.

“The storm damage was extremely significant and widespread,” Beal said. “We urge everyone to treat a downed power line as a live wire. We consider it a life-threatening situation and we continue to work to get to these [downed wires] as fast and as safely as we can.”

• We’re posting the latest outage numbers here every 10 minutes: http://wapo.st/stormoutages


3:46 p.m. Alexandria to keep rec centers, pools open on July 4

The city of Alexandria will open its recreation centers and pools on July 4 to help those in the city still without power and suffering from the heat. It will open recreation centers — except Patrick Henry, which is closed because of a power outage -- as cooling locations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The city’s three pools will be open in the afternoon as well.

• See the latest closings and cancellations, including several fireworks displays: http://wapo.st/closings0703


3:37 p.m. Downed powerlines remain throughout Md. suburbs

All day long we’ve been hearing stories about downed powerlines throughout the Maryland suburbs — in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring and now Potomac. One resident who lives on Bells Mill Road said she was out of town for a family medical emergency when neighbors called to tell them that an uprooted tree from their property is resting on what may or may not be a live power line. She’s tried to call Pepco — to no avail.

We sent a long list of addresses of downed lines to Pepco’s commmunications staff and have not heard back. We’ll let you know if and when we do.

• We’re posting the latest outage numbers here every 10 minutes: http://wapo.st/stormoutages


2:30 p.m. ‘Harrowing’: Families on Arlington Street live among downed powerlines.

Colleen Coyne is willing to “wait our turn” for Dominion Power to return electricity to her one-block-long street in South Arlington. But she doesn’t think the 5900 block of 4th St. South should have to wait any longer for the removal of power lines that are draped over the yards, cars and front porches of four houses on the block.

Three power poles are down and a fourth one snapped into two pieces and is dangling from a tree. There’s a transformer attached to one pole lying in Coyne’s driveway. Multiple power lines stretch across the yards of Coyne and her neighbors, effectively blocking them from getting beyond their front stoops, and forcing them to crawl or crouch and scoot under the wires if they want to reach the street. Eleven kids, all under the age of 14, live in the 13 houses on the block.

In fact, when her family finally went out to eat last night, they had to walk down three houses to where the wires are about chest-high, and clamber under them there. Her husband is disabled and walks with difficulty, using a cane. But the harder trip was when they returned home.

“Trying to crawl through those in the dark with two kids and dog -- it was harrowing,” she said.

The neighbors’ calls to Dominion Power yielded no real response, Coyne said, although Dominion crews have been working elsewhere in the area.

Dominion Virginia Power spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson said someone will contact Coyne and determine how quickly crews can get to her block.

Coyne said the neighbors are trying to be patient but their nerves are worn thin.

“We aren’t asking for power. We’ll wait our turn for that,” Coyne said Tuesday under a noontime sun. “This is not about our comfort. It’s about lives and safety.”

— Patricia Sullivan


1:46 p.m. Virginia storm deaths now total 11, McDonnell says

With the addition of a fatality in Loudoun County, there are now 11 storm-related deaths in Virginia, the office of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said today.

About 286,000 residents in the state still don’t have their lights on, down from about 1.2 million in the aftermath of the storm. Thousands more throughout the region also remain without power.

In addition, the state has distributed some 62,000 gallons of water to some of the hardest hit areas around the state.

For the latest closings and cancellations in your area, including several fireworks displays, check out http://wapo.st/closings0703


1:20 p.m. As outages continue, anger toward Pepco on the rise.

As we noted earlier, many of you have written in to tell us of downed power lines still in your neighborhood five days after the storm. While our intrepid colleague, Patricia Sullivan, is tracking Virginia reports with Dominion Power, we e-mailed a list of street addresses in Maryland with downed power lines to Pepco and are awaiting a response.

Don’t miss Mark Fisher’s great story about Pepco’s performance here http://wapo.st/N6jBYP .

Meantime, our colleague Katherine Shaver sends this dispatch in from Chevy Chase, where anger toward the power company is continuing to rise:

On Longfellow Place in Chevy Chase Lake, an enormous tree and a felled phone pole -- both covered in downed wires -- still blocked Joe and Mary Lou Kenary’s driveway Tuesday morning. On nearby Lynwood Place, a tree remained on top of a vehicle, with wires stringing across a front lawn.

Joe Kenary said he’s called 911 twice since Friday, concerned about the safety of the downed wires, but hasn’t seen anyone official beyond one fire truck that pulled in Saturday morning but backed out after it couldn’t get past the tree blocking the street.

He said he and his wife have called Pepco at least a half-dozen times since Friday night. The most frustrating response came around 6 a.m. Sunday, he said, when he told one Pepco call-taker that he and his wife, both in their 70s and with a severely disabled grandchild in their home, couldn’t get to the grocery store because of the downed lines blocking their driveway. Joe Kenary said the call-taker responded, “Can’t you take a cab?”

“We haven’t seen anyone, not even someone with yellow [caution] tape,” Joe Kenary said near the downed tree and wires Tuesday. “It’s ridiculous.”

Mary Lou Kenary said the upstairs thermostat hovers around 89 degrees.

“We called [Pepco] five times, and they keep saying ‘Oh yeah, you’re a big priority,’” said Mary Lou Kenary. “We called again this morning, and they said they had no record of us...We’re just so frustrated at how this has been mishandled.”

Joe Kenary said he can’t understand why, after so many lengthy power outages, Pepco hasn’t invested in burying more electrical lines. Kenary said he’d gladly pay extra on his monthly bill to help cover Pepco’s financing costs on such an expensive endeavor. The economic damages from wasted food alone, particularly for businesses such as grocery stores, are mounting, he said.

“We’ve gotta solve this,” Joe Kenary said.


12:50 p.m. D.C. to hand out boxed lunches for residents ‘til 9 p.m.

With more than 19,000 residents in the District of Columbia still without power, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) announced that the Department of Parks and Recreation will begin distributing boxed lunches to the public at six sites today, from 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The the main distribution site is Langdon Park, with satellite sites sites as follows:

· Langdon Park................................................... 2901 20th Street NE

· Deanwood....................................................... 1350 49th Street NE

· Ft. Stevens...................................................... 1327 Van Buren Street NW

· Guy Mason...................................................... 3600 Calvert Street NW

· Southeast Tennis & Learning Center................ 701 Mississippi Avenue SE

· Takoma........................................................... 300 Van Buren Street NW

The city said some libraries will be open from 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. today (except for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, which will open at noon) to serve as cooling centers.

Those include:

· Anacostia, 1800 Good Hope Road SE

· Cleveland Park, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW

· Dorothy I. Height/Benning , 3935 Benning Road NE

· Georgetown, 3269 R Street NW

· Lamont-Riggs, 5401 South Dakota Avenue NE

· Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, 901 G Street NW (opens at noon)

· Northwest One, 155 L Street NW

· Palisades, 4901 V Street NW

· Southeast, 403 7th Street SE

· William O. Lockridge/Bellevue, 155 Atlantic Street SW

In addition, officials said 57 intersections and nine schools were without power. D.C. public schools remained closed today.

Residents are encouraged to get the latest information on emergency response from the city’s website, www.dc.gov, and their Twitter and DC311 app accounts.


12:21 p.m. Verizon’s 911 service restored in Virginia

Fairfax County officials announced Verizon’s 911 service has been restored. Residents no longer have to call non-emergency numbers.

The county’s 911 emergency operation center had operated at half capacity Monday as Verizon tried to figure out why its primary and back-up power systems failed during Friday’s storm — leaving much of Northern Virginia without 911 service and alarming local officials.


12:06 p.m. Two more heat-related deaths in Virginia

Virginia officials confirmed Tuesday that there have been two more heat-related deaths since June 20, the first wave of intense heat this summer. That brings the total so far this year to eight fatalities, with four in the state’s northern district, three in central Virginia, and one in the western district. The two most recent fatalities were reported in the northern district. Health officials declined to provide more detail to protect privacy.

Read more about how local residents are grappling with the storm’s aftermath here: wapo.st/day5inthedark.

--Lena Sun


11:18 a.m. Four heat-related deaths in Md., O’Malley warns: ‘We are heading into the most dangerous part of this event’

As residents endure their fifth day of fiery temperatures wapo.st/day5inthedark, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) warned at a press conference today that residents, particularly the elderly, are at continued risk for heat exposure. Four people have already died from heat-related complications in the storm and heat wave, officials said; they urged residents without power to go to cooling centers .

“We are still in a very dangerous point of this emergency,” O’Malley said. “It’s critically imporant to think about neighbors who you know...please reach out to them.”

O’Malley said that power had been restored to 75 percent of those suffering outages, with 271,616 in the state still without electricity.

• We’re posting the latest outage numbers here every 10 minutes: http://wapo.st/stormoutages


11:11 a.m. Slate: Are power outages an argument against electric cars?

While we’re waiting for the Maryland governor’s press conference, check out this cool Slate story about whether power outages are an argument against electric cars. slate.me/LjlzHY


10:46 a.m. Residents still reporting downed power lines in area


Downed power lines near Northwood High School in Silver Spring. (Courtesy of Noam Parness)
Five days after the storm, we’re still hearing from residents about downed power lines on their streets, from the Kemp Mill neighborhood in Silver Spring to Chevy Chase and South Arlington.

“The entire length of our street has power wires down in every yard,” Arlington resident Colleen Coyne wrote. “There are 3 poles down and a 4th snapped. There is a transformer laying in my yard. It is impossible to leave the house without walking through power wires.”

We’re checking these reports with Pepco and Dominion Power, but in the meantime e-mail us if you have any more gowena@washpost.com

And read Mark Fisher’s story about PepCo’s performance here http://wapo.st/N6jBYP


9:41 a.m. Washington Animal Rescue League still without power


A puppy at the Washington Animal Rescue League in 2011. (Mark Gail - THE WASHINGTON POST)
The folks and animals at the Washington Animal Rescue League still have no power, longtime volunteer Lenore Boulet says.

She writes, “They’re running out of clean bedding for the animals and asking if volunteers can do laundry at home. They’re filling bowls with ice for the cats and dogs and placing large bins of ice in front of the fans to cool the rooms. And they need gasoline to continuously run the generators they have. They also have no phone service, servers are down, can’t receive emails or phone calls.”

The shelter bit.ly/MRlExQ is on 71 Oglethorpe Street in Northwest.

• We’re posting the latest outage numbers here every 10 minutes: http://wapo.st/stormoutages


9:05 a.m. Mayor Gray on Pepco: ‘We need a game changer’

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on CNN’s “Starting Point” said that “people are fed up” with the power outages and Pepco’s performance.

“This is not the first time,” he said. “This has happened before.”

The mayor said that Pepco needs to commit to do better. “We need a game changer,” Gray said.

Read more about frustrations with Pepco: http://wapo.st/N6dELt

— Eli Reyes


9:00 a.m. Welcome to the live blog

About 200,000 homes and businesses are still in the dark in the District, Northern Virginia and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.

By this morning, 76,866 Pepco customers in Montgomery County were still without electricity, compared to 98,000 late Monday night. In Prince George’s County, the number of Pepco outages had dropped from 40,000 to 25,243. And in the District, 17,130 customers had no electricity, down from 34,000 the night before.

Scattered new outages were reported overnight in Northwest D.C.

• We’re posting the latest outage numbers here every 10 minutes: http://wapo.st/stormoutages

• On the eve of the Fourth of July, residents endure a fifth day without power: http://wapo.st/day5inthedark

• See the latest closings and cancellations, including several fireworks displays: http://wapo.st/closings0703

By  |  04:06 PM ET, 07/03/2012

 
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