Two fatalities were reported in the Springfield area of Fairfax County. A falling tree struck a car at Old Keene Mill Road and Bauer Drive, killing the male driver, said Officer Don Gotthardt, a Fairfax County police spokesman. The Associated Press, citing county police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings, reported that a 90-year-old woman, who was sleeping, was killed after a tree fell on her house.
In addition, a park police officer was injured by a falling tree and an 18-year-old man was struck by a power line, according to the AP. The man was in stable condition after receiving CPR.
As the storm raced eastward, fueled by heat and humidity, wind gusts were estimated as high as 80 mph near Fredericksburg, 79 mph in the Reston area, 76 mph in the Seat Pleasant area of Prince George’s County and at 60 mph in other spots.
Lightning flashed, winds rose to tornadic levels, and rain and hail pelted one spot after another, striking many areas around 8:45 p.m.
As of 7 a.m. Saturday Pepco reported more than 426,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in its service area, which includes Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the District of Columbia. The largest number of outages was reported in Montgomery.
Dominion Virginia Power gave a figure of 780,000, which included customers throughout Virginia. Fairfax County appeared hard-hit.
In the area served by Baltimore Gas and Electric, more than 400,000 homes and businesses lacked electricity as of 7 a.m. Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission issued mandatory water restrictions Saturday for all residential and commercial customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties because the storms had knocked out power to WSSC’s two water filtration plants and other facilities.
A WSSC statement urges customers to stop all outside water use such as watering lawns or washing cars, postpone using washing machines and dishwashers, and not to flush toilets after every use.
It remained uncertain when power would be restored, and it appeared that, on Saturday at least, many residents would face heat similar to Friday’s without the benefit of air conditioning.
Saturday will bring more oppressive heat and humidity to the area with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms during the day and the high again aiming to reach at least 100.
A Pepco spokeswoman, Myra Oppel, said “it’s very safe to say multi-day outage.” She said early Saturday tyhat a more precise estimate would await a full assessment of the damage.
Witnesses expressed awe and astonishment at the unceasing flashes of lightning that punctuated the storm’s swift progress eastward across the region.