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Hundreds of thousands still without power; Fast-moving storm kills two

Severe thunderstorms felled trees and power lines across much of the Washington area Sunday afternoon, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

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In upper Northwest Washington, trees damaged houses on Cumberland Street, McKinley Street and Aberfoyle Place.

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Christy Waters, 41, was napping at home in Bethesda when she was awakened by wind "so loud and explosive I thought it was a tornado."

She looked outside onto the 7700 block of Cayuga Avenue to see a giant tree branch hit her lounge chair and fling it into the air. Her neighbor, she said, lost half of her roof.

One tree fell onto Metro Red Line tracks between Rockville and Shady Grove. Trains were forced to use a single track on that stretch for a time.

Northbound Amtrak trains were delayed between three and six hours.

Sweeping in a generally eastward direction, the storm -- a line of storms, actually -- caught many by surprise.

Among them were participants in the Boy Scouts of America Grand Centennial Parade and spectators. At the end of the route on Constitution Avenue NW, some scouts were seen running through the wind and rain, kerchiefs and caps flying.

Several boats overturned in the Potomac River near Virginia Avenue NW, the D.C. fire department said. D.C. firefighters helped pluck three people from the water.

With little warning to those at a pool in Southwest Washington, wind hoisted deck umbrellas into the air. One flew over a brick wall. Another began to levitate the table to which it was attached.

Authorities urged people not to touch downed wires and to treat intersection with darkened signals as four-way stops.

Before the storm struck, high temperatures again made the day one of Washington's hottest.

At Reagan National Airport, the 99-degree high made Sunday the 12th consecutive day of 90 degrees or above, and the 42nd this year.


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