Thunderstorms disrupt the Washington area

May 28

Powerful thunderstorms raged across the Washington area Tuesday evening, disrupting the lives of tens of thousands as homes and businesses went dark, the Nationals game was canceled and Metrorail riders endured delays.

The day provided a foretaste of summer in all its facets, from 90-degree afternoon heat to the ferocious evening storms, which sent temperatures plummeting, hailstones clattering and rain pouring in blinding sheets.

The area’s electrical grid suffered, with about 53,000 homes and businesses across the region without power as of 8:30 p.m. By 11 p.m., the number was down to about 13,000.

The biggest impact came in Montgomery County, where about 32,000 utility customers found themselves without electricity for a time. A woman was injured when lightning struck at Blunt and Brink roads.

At Reagan National Airport, the official measuring station for Washington, 0.87 inches of rain fell between 7 and 8 p.m.

A good deal of rain apparently found its way into the Red Line tunnel near the Medical Center station in Bethesda.

Metro spokeswoman Caroline Laurin said rainwater apparently caused the arcing of an insulator, which in turn prompted delays for many Red Line riders. Trains headed north into Montgomery from downtown Washington were halted temporarily. Full service was restored by 9 p.m.

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