With more thunderstorms predicted for Saturday night and more intense heat on the way Sunday, states of emergency were declared in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Emergency vehicles and crews raced to clear debris from hundreds of roadways, secure downed power lines, and restore electricity to hospitals, nursing homes and other critical facilities.
As the region suffered through a second day of 100-degree-plus heat, power companies said it could take up to a week before everyone has electricity again. State and local officials opened community pools, public libraries and special cooling centers. They also advised people to conserve water and help neighbors who might be especially vulnerable to heat. Temperatures on Sunday were expected to reach the upper 90s.
In Virginia, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) authorized the National Guard to assist with clearing trees and directing traffic. “This is a very dangerous situation for Virginia,” he said.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) called Friday’s calamitous weather a “historic event.” “Take care of yourself, and if your house has power and air conditioning, take care of a neighbor,” he said.
Obama in contact
Federal emergency officials said the storms also caused damage in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the Associated Press reported 13 storm-related deaths across the eastern United States. The White House said President Obama spoke with O'Malley, McDonnell, and the governors of Ohio and West Virginia to receive updates.
Because of storm damage to local water-filtering plants, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission issued mandatory water-use restrictions Saturday for all homes and businesses in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. It asked residents to postpone watering lawns, washing cars and clothes, and even flushing toilets when possible.
The Falls Church water utility advised customers in parts of Tyson’s Corner, Vienna, Dunn Loring and Merrifield to use boiled tap water or for drinking or cooking as a precaution.
The swift-moving, unpredictable storms raced out of northwest Virginia and Maryland after night fell Friday, and they swept southeast toward the Chesapeake Bay. Dozens of communities across the region were engulfed by howling wind gusts, driving rains and lightning that flashed eerily.