Winds Cancel Flights, Classes

Downed phone lines, in foreground, stopped traffic at River and Burdette roads near the Capital Beltway. Winds made utility crews' jobs difficult:
Downed phone lines, in foreground, stopped traffic at River and Burdette roads near the Capital Beltway. Winds made utility crews' jobs difficult: "We'll restore one area, and then another area goes out," Pepco's Debbi Jarvis said. (By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)
By Nick Miroff and Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The angry remnants of a mighty nor'easter lashed the region with wind gusts of up to 60 miles an hour yesterday, making a mess of airports, roadways and hairdos as the big weekend storm bullied its way out of the area.

The heavy winds were expected to ease overnight, the National Weather Service said, but gusts could still reach 40 mph today, spokesman Brandon Peloquin said.

"It was a deep, strong storm, and we're in the hot spot for the highest winds," he said.

More rain is forecast for Thursday, but by Friday temperatures are expected to reach the 60s and sunny skies should return for the weekend.

Record amounts of rain for April 15 were tallied Sunday at Reagan National Airport (2.41 inches) and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (2.52 inches), and the soggy conditions left trees especially vulnerable to the raging gusts that followed. More than 80,000 customers in Virginia, Maryland and the District were without power at some point yesterday, and the outages forced the closure or early dismissal of several schools.

In Montgomery County, three elementary schools closed early after losing power. In Charles County, Henry E. Lackey High School, Matthew Henson Middle School and Malcolm Elementary School didn't open at all because of overnight outages.

"At this point, we have every indication that the power will be restored to those schools," Charles schools spokeswoman Katie O'Malley Simpson said.

In Frederick County, Thurmont Primary School, Myersville Elementary School and Wolfsville Elementary School didn't open, spokeswoman Peggy Ballew said.

Power was expected to be restored to the affected schools last night, and classes are expected to resume this morning, school officials said.

Fairfax County schools closed three hours early yesterday because of concerns about the safety of children whose classes are in trailers. "They are not brick-and-mortar, so they are not going to be as safe," said Dean Tistadt, chief operating officer for facilities and transportation services.

"You can also have a lot of debris flying around," he said. "The policy errs on the side of caution."

The winds prompted school systems in Loudoun, Prince William and other Virginia counties to cancel outdoor afternoon activities.


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