Many Washington area residents awoke yesterday to find roofs and car windshields that will need repairs, as city, county and utility crews scrambled to restore power and clean up damages from Tuesday night's violent thunderstorms.
At least one death was attributed to lightning during the storm, which took about four hours to travel from areas northwest of Washington southward through the District into sections of Northern Virginia and Prince George's County, officials said.
A spokesman at Fort Belvoir, a U.S. Army post in Fairfax County, said Pvt. David Sotelo, 19, of San Diego, was killed by lightning on a soccer field at the post about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The soccer match had been halted for about 15 minutes because of the weather when lightning struck, according to Fort Belvoir spokesman Jerry Childress.
Five other persons also struck by the same lightning bolt were being held for observation at DeWitt Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir, but were not seriously injured, Childress said.
In a separate incident, Larry Metcalf, 18, of Oxon Hill, was also struck by lightning but was able to crawl away afterward.
Metcalf, a student at Oxon Hill High School, said yesterday he grabbed onto a chain-link fence after slipping while walking home from a friend's house Tuesday evening.
Suddenly, Metcalf recalled yesterday, "the whole fence lit up and it felt like my body was in an electric socket."
"It felt like my skin was rippling and my legs were hot. My brain felt like it feels when I'm hanging upside down," said Metcalf, a gymnast.
Paramedics treated Metcalf at his home and then took him to Greater Southeast Community Hospital, where he was released yesterday morning after being held overnight for observation.
"I still don't feel like myself," Metcalf said, "but I sure feel lucky."
The storm left thousands of homes in the area without power. Officials of Potomac Electric Power Company and Virginia Power reported some of the most extensive power outages of the year throughout the area. By late yesterday afternoon, power had been restored to all but about 100 of 35,000 customers who lost power in the storm, officials said.
A National Weather Service spokesman said the cooler weather ushered in by the storm should last for a while, with highs in the upper 60s and low 70s expected through the weekend.
Winds from the storm knocked down trees that left many cars and houses damaged and left debris strewn over wide areas. In the District, work crews were out until nearly midnight Tuesday and again yesterday morning, concentrating on nearly 40 damage sites, according to officials.
In Fairfax County, fire officials said they received more than 200 storm-related calls, many of them for lightning strikes and downed wires.
Weather officials said there were no tornadoes in the storm, only straight-line winds of up to 60 mph.