Severe thunderstorms hit area

Chris Voss
Manager, Montgomery County Emergency Operations Center
Thursday, August 12, 2010; 10:30 AM

Chris Voss, manager of the Montgomery County Emergency Operations Center, was online Thursday, Aug. 12, at 10:30 a.m. ET to discuss the latest information and news advisories about the storm that passed through the region this morning.


Washington, D.C.: What are the worst-hit areas?

Chris Voss: In Montgomery County it is Gaithersburg and Silver Spring/Takoma Park


Aspen Hill, Md.: Good morning. I safely made it to work (in downtown D.C.) this morning before the rain hit. However, I'm concerned about my commute home (Metro and driving). What can I expect to see out there?

Chris Voss: By your drive home, hopefully it won't be too bad but it's too early to say for sure. The Red Line on metro is having some issues and I haven't heard that it has changed yet. Roads are opening up here in Montgomery though and signals are being restored as the morning progresses.


Takoma Park, Md.: We are still without electrical power in Takoma Park. Where's the best place to get information about when it might restored?

Chris Voss: Your best bet would be to call the PEPCO service line at 877-737-2662.


Bethesda, Md.: Strangely enough, my condo has power in most of the rooms, but not on one side of my kitchen (I plugged my fridge into an extension cord to an outlet that works) and in one of my bathrooms. The A/C is also not working. There are others similarly situated here (there are two condo buildings).

Is this a PEPCO issue, or an internal condo issue?

Chris Voss: I don't see how that could be a PEPCO issue since your building generally seems to have power. I'd would check with your building maintenance people.


Silver Spring, Md.: How does this storm compare to the previous one? Is this another 'multi-day' event or can we expect power to be restored sometime today?

Chris Voss: PEPCO is still doing their assessments and we should have that information out to the public soon.


Rockville, Md.: Hello, I woke up without power this morning. Not to sound absurd, but is it possible that Pepco precedes such a storm by turning off the power in certain neighborhoods? On Tuesday evening the power went out for three hours between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and as soon as the power went out the Pepco hot line already had a message informing us that the power would be back on by 8 p.m. (and it was). The forecast on that day showed that there was some change for a powerful storm. Thanks.

Chris Voss: I've never heard of PEPCO doing anyuthing like that.


Washington, D.C.: Is the next round of storms due this afternoon going to be as bad?

Chris Voss: There's a possibility but we won't know that for a fact until they start forming.


Silver Spring, Md.: Good Morning, What's the expectation of power restoration?

Chris Voss: PEPCO is still doing assessments and we should know this soon.


Germantown, Md.: What aren't there police officers directing traffic at major intersections?

Chris Voss: Police are directing traffic in tha hardest hit areas of the county right now.


Vienna, Va.: Having power on one side of you house "can" be a power company problem.

Power comes in phases, there are two or three on the street each on its own wire. Your 120 volt devices only use one phase. If you have an electric dryer it may take two.

To help keep the current balanced, often the power company wires your house with more than one phase to the house with only one phase going to an outlet. Sometime it's as easy as the phases are on opposite sides of the breaker box (left/right).

You could have one phase off so that only half of your unit is powered.

Chris Voss: Thank you


Partial power -- the condo issue: This is a PEPCO issue. Power to a house enters via two 120 volt lines (or phases). A normal outlet is 120 volts (one phase) and will be on either on phase A or phase B but items like AC need 240 volts (both phases). If one phase is out, AC won't work and "half" the house will work.

There is a phase out going to the condo. Only PEPCO can fix this. It's reported as a partial power outage.

Chris Voss: Thank you


Silver Spring, Md.: What's the best way to report downed power lines? There's a tree near our condo weighing down a power line and smoking.

Chris Voss: The best way is to call the PEPCO outage line at 877-737-2662

_______________________ This concludes the discussion with Chris Voss.


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