Record Rainfall Knocks Out Electricity -- and Drought

By Martin Weil and Nia-Malika Henderson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, October 8, 2005

The Washington area's months-long drought ended yesterday with hours of driving downpour that stalled traffic, knocked out power to thousands of homes, broke at least two rainfall records and reminded many that this is not Arizona after all.

The National Weather Service said that vast amounts of moisture from the remnants of a tropical depression and an approaching cold front together would continue to produce periods of heavy rain persisting well into today. Small streams and low-lying neighborhoods could flood, forecasters said.

By late afternoon, rainfall at Reagan National Airport set a record for Oct. 7 of 2.03 inches, well above the previous mark of 1.60 inches in 1965. The rainfall was by far the most in the region in weeks. Almost 20 times as much rain fell as in all of last month.

Rainfall also set a record at Dulles International Airport, with 2.24 inches measured by late afternoon, compared with the previous high of 1.55 inches in 1965.

By 10 p.m., about 5,000 homes and businesses across the area were without electricity. Montgomery County had the largest number of outages, about 1,800.

Earlier in the day, about 25,000 Pepco customers in the District lost power for less than an hour when two feeders went out.

It could not be immediately determined whether that incident was related to the storm, a Pepco spokeswoman said.

On roads in Montgomery, police reported "a whole bunch of accidents" that numbered probably in the dozens.

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