The dozens of tornadoes reported across Virginia on Friday spread damage across such a wide swath that state officials said they won't know until early this week whether the destruction was significant enough to qualify for federal assistance.
"It's really scattered around the state," Dawn Eischen, spokeswoman for the state's Department of Emergency Management, said yesterday. "No one area got the majority of it. It's just everywhere."
The National Weather Service has confirmed that 17 tornadoes touched down in the state Friday, and almost three dozen more reports of tornadoes are under investigation, officials said. Four twisters were confirmed in the Maryland suburbs, including one in Montgomery County. There were none in the District.
In Northern Virginia, about 170 homes were damaged and four were destroyed, according to the state's latest count. Nearly 66,000 customers lost power, and service to all but 11 customers in Leesburg had been restored last night, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power said. About 100 customers remained without power in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and the District, down from 6,500 Saturday, Pepco officials said.
Rainfall generated by the storm caused little flooding, officials said. But in Cecil County, Md., near Delaware, about 200 people evacuated the town of Port Deposit yesterday because of fears of flooding from the Susquehanna River. About 30 gates were opened last night at the Conowingo Dam there, and officials in the town of 700 said the river could rise several feet above flood stage today. Two women were killed in the county when a tree fell on their house during the storms.
In Virginia, officials said they won't know the extent of storm damage until all localities have reported. Seventeen counties and cities have reported damage to more than 500 homes and businesses. One storm-related death was reported in Campbell County. No details were available yesterday.
Eischen said officials believe that most of the tornado damage will be covered by private insurers and that the state will need to tally the uninsured damage to determine whether it is sufficient to qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Homes in Fairfax County fared the worst: 51 damaged and one destroyed. But Fauquier and Prince William counties weren't far behind. Forty-five houses in Fauquier were damaged and two were destroyed, and 32 homes in Prince William were damaged and one was destroyed, according to a state report.
In Manassas, where 38 homes were damaged, neighbors on Yoder Street, which was hit hard by a tornado Friday night, spent yesterday cleaning up and waiting for insurance adjusters.
One house whose roof had been torn off was neatly covered in a bright blue tarp, while aluminum siding that had been ripped loose on several houses on the street whined and squeaked in the brisk wind.
Mike Rusaw lost most of his backyard fence, some trees, his barbecue and a pine shed -- which flew into the neighbor's deck -- when the twister roared through.
"I'm not even going to guess" the cost, Rusaw said, as he waited for the insurance adjuster. "Most of it is cosmetic compared to the neighbors."
Insurance adjuster Matthew Kelly trudged out from behind the home of Stephen and Anne Ezzo on Yoder Street, pad of paper in hand, after completing an assessment.
"I'll be busy," Kelly said, "and busy for a few weeks to come."
Despite the havoc wreaked by the twisters and the thunderstorms that accompanied them in the Washington suburbs, officials said that the rainfall caused little flooding.
But hundreds of people in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania weren't so lucky. The Ohio River inundated parts of Wheeling and other West Virginia river towns, and the Delaware River flooded parts of New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported.
In Wheeling, the rising Ohio River submerged the city's riverfront park and covered several neighborhoods and the Wheeling racetrack.
Western Fairfax received a record 1.71 inches of rain Friday, but the downpour quickly tapered off and wasn't enough to raise the Potomac to dangerous levels, said John Darnley, a meteorologist with the Weather Service. "In terms of [rainfall] in our area that causes flooding, we dodged the bullet."
But the rising Potomac River on Saturday trapped a young couple who had clambered out on rocks along the Maryland shore at midnight. According to rescuers, the teenagers, used a cell phone to summon help.