Electricity was cut off to thousands of homes, and four television channels went off the air for varying periods last night as vivid and violent thunderstorms brought hail, h w0065 ----- r d BC-06/07/83-RAIN 06-07 0001 Storms Darken Neighborhoods, 4 TV Channels By Martin Weil Washington Post Staff Writer
Electricity was cut off to thousands of homes, and four television channels went off the air for varying periods last night as vivid and violent thunderstorms brought hail, high wind and torrential downpours to much of the Washington area.
No storm-related injuries were reported although trees were toppled, lightning struck several houses and a torn power line caused a small fire at the base of a tree in Northeast Washington.
The storms came on one of the first days this year to offer both the humidity and high temperatures required for thunderstorms. They were touched off by the approach from the west of a cold front that is expected to pass through the area this morning, possibly bringing more showers. Dryer weather is expected this afternoon and tomorrow is expected to be dryer and cooler.
At the peak of yesterday's most severe storm, which reached the western edges of the area about 5:30 p.m., winds gusted to an estimated 55 miles an hour in portions of Fairfax County, according to the National Weather Service.
Aircraft takeoffs were reported delayed at times at both National and Dulles airports. By 11 p.m., Dulles reported 1.72 inches of rain and National .71. Most of it fell in less than an hour, the weather service said.
Lightning caused minor damage to houses in Montgomery and Arlington counties and in Alexandria, fire officials said. Trees fell on roadways in Loudoun County, where hail was reportedly widespread. A power line fell onto a car in the 4200 block of Albemarle Street NW in the District, and a torn line ignited a fire in a tree in the 3200 block of 10th Street NE.
In Montgomery County, 2,400 homes in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area lost power shortly before 6 p.m. The same outage cut off power for more than two hours to the transmitter used by TV channels 20, 26 and 32. They returned to the air at 8:16 p.m. but at 9:42 p.m. were cut off again for 36 minutes. Channel 7 went off the air for less than six minutes at 5:40 p.m.
In Virginia the storm was blamed for cutting off power to about 3,000 homes in the Danbury Forest section of Springfield from 8:20 to 9:07 p.m.