Tropical Storm Hanna Drenches Washington Region
Saturday, September 6, 2008; 7:19 PM
Tropical Storm Hanna eased its way out of the Washington region early this evening, leaving behind closed roads, spot flooding and at least one fatality, but, despite rains that measured more than six and seven inches in spots, far less destruction than had been feared.
The damage appears worst in Northern Virginia, where Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Prince William was the hardest-hit county in the state. Flooding in central and southern Fairfax County prompted a couple of small scale evacuations, authoritities said.
Trees fell throughout the area, and in one Woodbridge neighborhood a tree fell on a single family home, but no injuries were reported. Rocio Chavaria, 18, was watching TV in the living room with her family when they heard a loud cracking sound. A thick branch broke through the ceiling of the kitchen.
"Water was coming in and I said 'Oh Lord'," she said. "I'm upset by the damage, but we're relieved that everybody's fine and no one got hurt."
By 5 p.m., the wind and rain were all but gone from the area. However, dark clouds still covered the skies as Hanna headed across the Delaware Bay into southern New Jersey. Maryland authorities downgraded wind restrictions on the Bay Bridge to warnings, advising vehicles vulnerable to high winds (such as vehicles with roof mount racks containing cargo) to use caution when crossing.
Overall, "things are winding down," said Josh Newhard, a meteorologist at the Accuweather forecast service.
Pepco reported about 10,000 customers without power early this evening in the District and Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Dominion Power said about 9,000 Northern Virginia homes were without service.
Since Hanna's rain bands first began hitting the region this morning, more than six inches of rain have fallen in Leesburg, and 4.8 inches at Dulles International Airport, where winds gusted to 40 miles per hour. Josh Newhard, a meteorologist at the AccuWeather forecast service, said the storm had been worst to the west and northwest of the District.
As Hanna departed, it was apparent that the storm had not caused widespread damage. Though it met the meteorological standards for tropical storms, in its effects, it was essentially reminiscent of one of the area's more powerful thunderstorms.
At St. Michaels on the Chesapeake Bay late this afternoon, wind gusts and downpours were replaced by a steady mist. Ducks swam up to the front porch of St. Michael's Crab and Steak House, helped along by the large puddle that had developed just outside the restaurant.
Owner Eric S. Rosen had closed the crab house during the day because of Hanna's expected impact, opened up at 4 p.m. for a scheduled party. Still, he was concerned about the storm's aftermath, with high tides expected around 10 p.m. that might put water into the restaurant.
Standing outside the restaurant on his boat, the Chesapeake, Chris F. Spurry, 60, of St. Michaels, echoed Rosen's thought.