Local officials also warned that flooding could worsen over the next two days as the tide rises and storm-swollen rivers and creeks flow from the north and west into local waterways. More than 300,000 people from Virginia to Baltimore remained without power
But many also awoke with a sense of relief that the destruction wasn’t worse, and some of the ordinary rhythms of life resumed. Metro trains rolled again after service resumed at 2 p.m., the Chesapeake Bay Bridge reopened after a record closure, and school districts in the District and in Fairfax, Montgomery, Prince George’s counties announced that classes would resume Wednesday after a two-day break. Federal workers were also expected to return to normal duty after a two-day hiatus unless they arranged to work from home or take unscheduled leave.
“We were spared the worst,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who had warned that the coming storm would be a killer. “It’s clear we were fortunate to be on the weaker side of the storm.”
In Fairfax County, authorities reported that 52 trees fell onto homes in the county, though no one was hurt. Ninety roads were closed because of flooding or downed trees, and 100 traffic lights were not working because of power outages. But residents of the flood-prone Huntington community were told they could return home, and officials said no homes in that area had flooded.
A Prince George’s County spokesman counted only eight trees down and a few roads closed. In the District, by comparison, only one intersection was without power, at Minnesota Avenue and Ely Place SE.
“It obviously could have been a lot worse,” D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle said. “In terms of the signals out and power outages I’ve seen, it doesn’t look that overwhelming.”
Many residents marveled that they had got off so lightly. Jay Groff, of Springfield, said he bailed out sump pumps in his home until the wee hours Tuesday to keep the basement from flooding and save his wooden floors. And the Bradford pear tree that toppled onto Highland Street and blocked the road for several hours was gone by midday.
“There’s lots of leaves and debris around. But that’s the extent of it,” Groff said.
To the north, east and west of the region, the story was very different. The storm system brought blizzard conditions to West Virginia and western Maryland, pummeled beach towns on the Maryland, Delaware and Virginia coasts and overwhelmed much of New York and New Jersey.
An estimated 7.5 million people were without power up and down the East Coast, with at least 33 people in eight states believed to have died in the storm.