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Posted at 05:37 PM ET, 07/02/2012

Pepco updates, cooling station locations: Live blogging the D.C. storm aftermath

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

Name the D. C. derecho. (http://wapo.st/stormname )

Share your storm photos. (http://wapo.st/MPxGt6 or by e-mailing userpics@washpost.com)


9:09 p.m. Nearly 17 percent of customers still powerless

About 319,470 businesses and households in the District, Northern Virginia and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland — 17 percent of customers — remained without electricity as of 9 p.m. Monday, according to data on the utilities’ Web sites.


8:15 p.m. Mayor asks President to declare disaster in the District

Mayor Vincent C. Gray is requesting that President Obama declare a disaster in the District so that the city can qualify for federal funds to cover damage from Friday’s storm.
An American Beech tree is down on Capitol Hill grounds in Washington Saturday. (Manuel Balce Ceneta - AP)

“I request that you declare an emergency for the District of Columbia as a result of a severe and sudden thunderstorm resulting in citywide electrical power outages in the District of Columbia on June 29, 2012,” Gray wrote in a letter.


6:53 p.m. The last gas

A Citgo station on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda ran out of gas at 5 p.m. because of heightened demand after other stations lost power. They expect new shipment Tuesday morning.


6:50 p.m. Watching the utility companies

In a conference call to reporters Monday, Maryland Public Service Commission chair Douglas R. M. Nazarian said the group is watching the utility companies closely as they fix the outages.

“We’re communicating constantly with the companies,” he said.

Nazarian said he’s unhappy that there are still hundreds of thousands of people still without power. But he refused to comment on the response time of any of the utility companies.

“I’m not going to be happy until all the power is turned back on, but that’s not reflective of me being unhappy with any specific company,” he said. “You can’t ever say going into this that a specific amount of time is acceptable or not acceptable.”

Nazarian said the companies have until early August to file assessment reports on how they handled the storms, and he said the commission will hold public hearings soon after to see what could be improved in the future.


6:20 p.m. Keeping medication safe

More than 200 CVS pharmacies in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia lost power immediately after the storm. Some had generators to help with refrigeration of medication, and others were stored with ice packs as long as possible, according to spokesman Michael DeAngelis.

In stores that were not able to provide refrigeration, products would be discarded, said DeAngelis. He declined to provide details.


6:10 p.m. Watch out for falling trees

Commuters on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, southbound at Overlook Park in Arlington, are being detoured as all southbound lanes are blocked by a downed tree.

Traffic is being diverted at Chain Bridge Road, according to an Arlington County alert, and worse-than-usual traffic should be expected on VA-123.

Get more traffic updates at washingtonpost.com/drgridlock.


5:37 p.m. Some fireworks displays cancelled

At least four Maryland jurisdictions have already cancelled their planned fireworks displays — Germantown, Wheaton, Gaithersburg and Rockville.

County Executive Isiah Leggett said Monday at a press conference that police and fire personnel that would be needed at those events will be better suited helping with storm recovery efforts.

“We need to take as many resources that we can and direct it towards the [storms],” he told reporters at the Springvale Terrace senior living facility in Silver Spring.

For a list of closings go to wapo.st/whatsclosed.

--Victor Zapana


4:43 p.m. D.C. mayor: Public is ‘fed up’ with Pepco outages


Mayor Vincent Gray. (J. Scott Applewhite - AP)
Count D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray among the local leaders frustrated with ongoing power outages.

Audio slideshow: Why is it taking so long?

As The Post’s Nikita Stewart reports, Gray is unhappy with Pepco’s estimate for when power will be restored to nearly all businesses.

“While I want to thank [Pepco] for their progress, they need to move faster,” Gray said at a news conference at the city’s command center in Southeast. “How many times have we been through this before? ... Friday is just not good enough.”

Full details on Gray’s news conference are available on the D.C. Wire blog: http://wapo.st/LsTDwG


4:33 p.m. About 15,000 Loudoun County residents still without power

About 15,000 Loudoun County residents -- approximately 11 percent of all customers in the county -- were still without power as utility crews continued their restoration efforts, according to Loudoun officials.

"We continue to encourage anyone who is without power to seek respite from the heat at air-conditioned county facilities, such as libraries and community centers," said Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) in a county statement Monday.

Most Loudoun libraries and community centers were open Monday as regularly scheduled, but Philomont Community Center in Philomont is closed, the statement said.


4:21 p.m. Without power, pediatricians grapple to cool vials of vaccines

One large Northern Virginia pediatrics practice rushed to store hundreds of vials of vaccines — worth more than $100,000 — after losing power at its Alexandria office on Beauregard Street .

Office manager Nicky Lundy and the on-duty physician, Jon Farber, were able to get permission to store hundreds of vials of vaccines, worth more than $100,000, in a pharmacy refrigerator at Inova Alexandria Hospital. The doctor’s office still had no power Monday.

Hospital spokesman Tony Raker said the hospital had never been asked before, but there was no hesitation because “patient care comes first.”

About 90 percent of all vaccines need to be stored at temperatures between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, personnel said. The chickenpox vaccine needs to be stored in the freezer.

Physician offices typically have insurance to cover the loss of vaccines that have to be discarded.

--Lena H. Sun


4:03 p.m. Boil water advisory lifted in Falls Church

The boil water advisory that had been in place for Falls Church Water Utility Customers in Tysons, Vienna and Dunn Loring has been lifted.

Customers no longer need to boil or treat tap water for drinking or cooking. Two rounds of bacteriological testing were performed as advised by the Virginia Department of Health and came back negative.


3:43 p.m. Storm “unprecedented”: Md. Governor

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said at a press conference that the region had experienced an “unprecedented” weather event during the fast-moving and violent storm that overtook the Washington area Friday evening.

O’Malley, a native Marylander, recalled surveying storm damage Saturday where mature-sized trees were overturned and split like toothpicks and that he had never seen a storm “this sudden, with this amount of impact” in his lifetime.

When asked if he was satisfied with the performance of the state’s two power utilities he said, “I’m not satisfied until every home is restored to power... but I’m also mindful that we suffered a hurricane-level impact” without the three or four days of warning that would proceed the typical hurricane.


3:41 p.m. Save the beer! Brewery scrambles amid power outage


Bill Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing Company, pushes his son, Key, 8, on a cart through the brewery's darkened facility on Monday. (Matt McClain - FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
The Port City Brewing Company guys thought this would be a monumental week, with stores in Western Maryland selling their microbrews for the first time and sales expected to spike ahead of Independence Day. 

Instead, owner Bill Butcher and head brewer Jonathan Reeves were pacing nervously around the nascent Alexandria brewery Monday, fretting about an ever-warming 1,860-gallon tank of "Downright Pilsner" two-and-half days into the fermentation process.

The power line behind the brewery was knocked down in Friday night's derecho — the clock on the warehouse wall was stuck on 10:41 — and Butcher and Reeves were scrambling to preserve the seasonal pilsner. 

"We have to keep the temperature under control," Reeves said.

Read how it turned out in J. Freedom du Lac’s story at washingtonpost.com later tonight and in Tuesday’s Washington Post.


3:27 p.m. Six dead in Md. after storms, officials say

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley(D) said at a press conference this afternoon that six Maryland residents have died during the storm and its aftermath — three from heat-related complications-- in Baltimore, Wicomico County and Montgomery County. Officials cautioned residents to check on their neighbors who still may not have power.

The state continues to operate 58 cooling centers around the region and two emergency shelters in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have served 163 people so far, officials said. About 33 nursing homes remain without power and are using generators, officials said.

Officials also said they would be operating on a “liberal leave” policy for non-essential employees on Tuesday.


3:26 p.m. D.C. public schools closed Tuesday

All D.C. public schools will remain closed Tuesday.

Schools officials issued the following news release:

“On Tuesday, July 3, all District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) will remain closed in the wake of the powerful storms on Friday.

Our teams continue their work to ensure that our schools are ready to receive students, staff, Summer Youth Employee Program participants and community based organizations. We hope to resume normal operations and open schools for all programs on Thursday, July 5.

DCPS administrative sites will be open and those employees should report to work as usual. Free meals will be served to youth under the age of 18 at recreation centers that remain open. For more information on the meals available to youth, visit the Department of Parks and Recreation Web site at dpr.dc.gov.”


3:13 p.m. Fairfax official calls for review of NoVa’s glitch-plagued 911 system after storm

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said Monday that a task force is needed to review problems with Northern Virginia’s 911 system during and after storm.

The system has been plagued by outages and data glitches since early Saturday morning, Bulova said. The problems have affected Fairfax, and Prince William counties, as well as Manassas and Manassas Park.

“It is understandable that something like this could happen, but shouldn’t there be some redundancy or backup to keep 911 up and running?” Bulova said. “It’s not acceptable for the region’s 911 system to go down.”

Bulova said she planned to bring the issue to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to propose a task force to investigate the outages and propose recommendations to keep such a failure from happening again.

— Justin Jouvenal


2:50 p.m. More than 400,000 still without power in region

About 419,400 businesses and households in the District, Northern Virginia and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties — 22.3 percent of customers — remained without electricity as of 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to data on the utilities’ Web sites.

For status of power outages, go to wapo.st/outagestats .

Meanwhile, some residents in Prince George’s County who had power all weekend lost it today.

Prince George’s resident Sarah Williams thought she was one of the lucky ones. She and many of her neighbors in Fort Washington had power all weekend. Then, just after noon Monday the electricity in much of her neighborhood went out.

Williams, 52, called Pepco. One reason for the outage, she was told, was that Pepco was taking down some areas that had power in order work on other affected neighborhoods. She says she was also told that trees that were weakened by the storm have begun falling and toppling power lines.

“I was so hopeful and excited that we escaped everything. Even had some friends bring their food and stored in my freezer. Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

— Keith L. Alexander


2:41 p.m. First heat-related deaths reported in Maryland

Maryland health officials reported Monday the first three deaths related to the recent heat wave, one in Montgomery County, one in Wicomico County and one in Baltimore city. Officials declined to provide specifics except to say the Montgomery County death was a man between 18 and 65 and the other two were men older than 65.

Health officials cautioned residents about the potential dangers from heatstroke and heat exhaustion that can develop from the hot and humid conditions typically associated with Maryland summers.

In 2011, there were 34 confirmed heat-related deaths in Maryland, in 2010, there were 32.

Read more about how to stay safe amid the heat and power outages on Capital Weather Gang: http://wapo.st/N6ZaeH

— Lena Sun


2:37 p.m. Cancel the Fourth? That’s like cancelling Christmas!

Arlington County officials mull cancelling their Fourth of July festivities in the storm’s fallout. See details on the State of NoVA blog wapo.st/cancelfourth .


2:20 p.m. Federal agencies open Tuesday, employees can telework

All federal agencies will be open Tuesday, though officials said workers can take unscheduled leave or telework as they did Monday.

The Office of Personnel Management issued the following release:

“Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN and employees have the OPTION for UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK.

Non-Emergency Employees must notify their supervisor of their intent to use unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework (if telework-ready). Non-emergency employees have the option to

(1)use earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate;

(2)use leave without pay; or

(3)request to use their flexible work schedule day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules.

Telework-Ready Employees who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisors of their intention to perform unscheduled telework must be prepared to telework for the entire workday, or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both, for the entire workday in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksites on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.”


1:43 p.m. Red Cross: Emergency call for blood donors

The Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood donors around the region in aftermath of Friday’s storm. The aid organization estimates that the storm caused a shortfall of 500 potential blood donations locally at a time when the nation’s blood supply is already low.

Continued power outages mean that more blood drive cancellations are expected this week. Donor centers in the District and Gaithersburg are open. Eligible donors are urged to schedule appointments immediately.

For more information, see the National Capital Region’s Web site at http://bit.ly/dcredcross.

Nationally, the American Red Cross blood supply has reached emergency levels with 50,000 fewer donations than expected in June.


1:11 p.m. D.C. residents can dispose spoiled food at local schools

D.C. residents can dispose of their food spoiled in the aftermath of Friday’s storm from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at local schools and the Department of Public Works. Collection points include:

· LaSalle - Backus Elementary — 501 Riggs Road, NE

· McKinley Tech — 151 T Street, NE

· Key Elementary — 5001 Dana Place, NW

· Wilson High School — 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW

· Ferebee-Hope Elementary — 3999 8th Street, SE

· Garfield Elementary — 2435 Alabama Avenue, SE

Residents can also bring their spoiled food to the Ft. Totten Transfer Station, 4900 John F. McCormack, Road, NE, from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.


12:55 p.m. Free admission to some Prince George’s pools today

Prince George's County is offering free admission to the local pools that have power today — including J. Franklyn Bourne, North Barnaby, Ellen Linson and Lane Manor, which are outdoor pools; and Theresa Banks, Rollingcrest, Fairland and Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex, which are indoor. Other pools remain closed due to lack of power for the pumps.

For a list of closings go to wapo.st/whatsclosed.


12:48 p.m. Md. Governor to hold press conference

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will hold a news conference with emergency officials at 3 p.m. to provide an update on storm recovery efforts.

For status of power outages, go to wapo.st/outagestats .


12:17 p.m. Welcome to the live blog

As Washington returns to work, 445,000 business and households in the region still remain in the dark, thanks to no power. The utility companies are working to restore electricity to neighborhoods, but it could take up to a week for the work to finish. We’ll be updating throughout the day on the latest news about power outages, traffic issues and any cancellations throughout the day and into the night. Stick with us.

By  |  05:37 PM ET, 07/02/2012

 
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