80,000 Lose Power in Burst of Wind, Hail

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By Martin Weil and Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wind gusts of more than 60 mph ripped across the Washington area yesterday afternoon, as storms tore down trees, pelted many places with hail and knocked out electricity to more than 80,000 homes and businesses.

The winds tore a 654-foot, car-carrying ship from a pier in Baltimore harbor, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said. It later anchored safely, he said.

About 6 p.m., Dominion Virginia Power said, 44,000 homes and businesses lacked electricity in Northern Virginia. Early today, the figure was down to 5,000.

Statewide, 111,000 outages were reported at one point, the utility said. Not all would be restored today, it said.

In Maryland, Baltimore Gas and Electric reported that 7,000 customers in Prince George's County and 15,000 in Anne Arundel County lost power for a time. Across Maryland, power was cut to more than 85,000 BGE customers.

At one point, Pepco reported about 8,000 outages in Prince George's and Montgomery counties. About 3,000 homes and businesses in Calvert County served by the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative went dark. Allegheny Power reported 8,000 outages in Maryland, half in Frederick County.

After a drizzly morning yesterday, the sun emerged but gave way to clouds and rising wind.

In Leesburg, a tree fell on power lines at Union and Wirt streets NW. In Anne Arundel, a 68 mph gust was clocked, and a roof blew off a building. In St. Mary's County, a tree fell onto a roof in Lexington Park. And hail an inch in diameter rattled on car tops in Bethesda.

Darkened traffic signals plagued intersections in Fairfax and Arlington counties, police said. Trees and power lines fell in the District.

Trees fell on at least two houses in Montgomery County.

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