The Valentine Day's storm that dumped an ugly mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain on the Washington region has left two people dead, one child critically injured, more than 47,000 homes and businesses without electricity -- and, at least nine school systems canceling classes Friday for a third straight day.
The storm played a role in the death today of woman whose Lexus crashed into another car at a Bowie intersection where the traffic lights were out. Yesterday, a 15-year-old girl died in western Loudoun County when she was struck by part of a tree in her family's front yard.
Icy side streets -- and an abundance of caution -- prompted most schools from the District to the outer suburbs to
For many in the Washington area, though, life is getting back to normal as major roads are largely clear and government offices opened for business this morning. What's more, most flights from Washington Dulles and Reagan National airports, which were backed up yesterday after being closed in the morning, were operating on schedule this evening. Metro buses are back on track, too.
Can a meltdown be far away?
"There's no great warm-up through the weekend, although temperatures will be in the upper 30s on Saturday," said National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Woodcock. "Tuesday and Wednesday, though, the temperatures should be in the 40s."
Any snow in the forecast?
"There's a 30 percent chance Saturday night," Woodcock said. "But it doesn't look like anything big."
Local utilities made some progress today, cutting the number of homes and businesses without power by more than half this evening. At the peak yesterday, more than 120,000 homes were without electricity, with the problem focused in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties.
"We certainly anticipate that we will continue to make significant progress. We should have the vast majority restored by late Friday," said Linda Foy, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric, the hardest hit of the local utilities.
However, she said some scattered outages are likely to remain through Saturday, even with 400 out-of-state repair workers backing up around 1,000 local employees. Early this evening, 42,000 of the utility's customers remained powerless, most of them in Anne Arundel County.
Pepco reported about 3,300 customers without power -- down from 12,000 this morning -- most in Prince George's County. An official with the utility said service should be restored to virtually all of them by tonight.
Meanwhile, Dominion Virginia Power reported 2,159 outages in Northern Virginia.
Overnight temperatures fell into the teens, turning the day's leftover slush into solid ice this morning.
Officials in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties opened emergency shelters yesterday, although there were few takers. Prince George's shelters were vacant overnight, while about 25 Anne Arundel residents slept overnight in the Annapolis High School cafeteria and were provided with cots and hot meals by the county.
This afternoon, Anne Arundel officials shifted their emergency shelter from Annapolis High School to the South County Senior Center in Edgewater. About 20 senior citizens planned to make the move.
"The purpose to move them . . . was for comfort and also their special needs," said Rhonda Wardlaw, a county spokeswoman. "We just realized that these people are tired and without power. Let's get them some of the comforts of home." The senior center will accept any county resident without power, she said.
Power outages figured in the fatal accident this morning at the intersection of Route 301 and Trade Zone Avenue in Bowie, where traffic lights were out, said Sgt. John Green of Maryland State Police.
A woman driving a Lexus struck a Honda Civic, which overturned, he said. The Lexus driver, whose name was not released, was ejected from her car. She was transported to Prince George's Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead, Green said. The driver of the Honda was not injured.
In Loudoun County, high winds yesterday blew down a portion of a tree that killed
There was a crack, and then a large portion of the tree came crashing down, crushing the girl, said Loudoun sheriff's spokesman Kraig Troxell.
Zilke was unconscious when paramedics arrived but was breathing, Troxell said. She was taken to Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, where she was pronounced dead.
In Crofton, a 12-year-old boy was critically injured when his sled veered onto a roadway and was struck by a pickup truck, according to Anne Arundel police. The driver of the truck stopped to investigate the accident and called 911, police said. The boy was in critical condition this morning at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, police said in a statement. The boy has been identified as Colin Davis.
Staff writers Howard Schneider, William Wan and Raymond McCaffrey contributed to this story.