Most Read: Local

Post Now
Posted at 06:11 AM ET, 04/05/2011

Storms race through area, downing trees and causing commute problems

A speedy line of severe thunderstorms blew through the D.C. area before dawn Tuesday morning, touching off tornado warnings, causing a few commute problems and downing trees.

The storms packed winds in excess of 60 mph as they swept through the region at a furious clip of up to 80 mph. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for St. Mary’s, Prince George’s, Calvert and Charles and Anne Arundel counties in the early morning hours, but there were no reports of actual tornadoes touching down.

“It is unusual, but not unheard of to get an outbreak like this in the morning,” said Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang, who said the region had a similar storm pattern on August 12 last year.

Utilities reported about 2,000 customers were without power at the height of outages in the area , but by 8:30 a.m. less than 600 were in the dark.

A driver in Chevy Chase narrowly escaped injury — or even death — when a 100-foot tall tree crashed down on the hood of his soft-top Chrysler convertible around 4:40 a.m., said Howard Hersh, a spokesman for the Montgomery County police. The accident shut down Jones Mill Road near East West Highway for much of the early morning as crews cleaned up the mess.

“This is one of those acts of god,” Hersh said. “He was lucky. It wasn’t his day.”

Standing water also created problems on a handful of other roads in Maryland and D.C.

Classses were canceled at Jefferson Middle School in D.C. because the storm knocked power out to the building. Bishop Ireton High School also closed for the day and canceled after school sports and activities because of an outage.

By 6 a.m., the storms had exited the region and most warnings and watches were canceled. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts temperatures will drop through the rest of the day as a cold front pushes through.

NBC 4 recorded this video of a tree down on the Mall.

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

By  |  06:11 AM ET, 04/05/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company