The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

After storms, some in D.C. area are on Day 2 without power

About 4,000 homes and businesses — mainly in Prince George’s County — are affected by the outages

A house in the Lakeland neighborhood of College Park on July 13, a day after it was severely damaged during a major rainstorm. (Gaya Gupta/The Washington Post)
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correction

A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to a closure on Route 1 near Lakeland Drive. It is Lakeland Road. The article has been corrected.

More than 13,100 residents and businesses in the D.C. area were still without power Thursday afternoon, as authorities continued to clean up two days after huge storms barreled through the region and unleashed violent winds, knocking down trees that destroyed homes and cars.

Most of the ongoing power outages were in Prince George’s County, according to Pepco’s outage map. At one point after Tuesday’s storms, more than 230,000 homes and businesses in the D.C. area were without electricity.

In College Park’s Lakeland neighborhood, Fermin Vergaza, 19, and his parents and his two sisters were on Day 2 without power Thursday. Fallen trees blocked the roads on either side of their house on 51st Street, so the family was unable to drive out for food and supplies.

D.C. region cleans up after heavy storm

Without electricity, they had to eat out Wednesday, walking to a Little Caesars in the morning and another restaurant in the evening. Vergaza said that without their fridge running, the groceries they recently bought will spoil.

“It’s going to be expensive, since we went to the grocery store basically two days ago. We spent a lot of money — we spent $200 on groceries. And we have to throw all that away,” he said.

On Wednesday night, the family slept in the basement, where Vergaza said it was cooler. They have no air conditioning, and their second floor gets “really, really hot,” making it difficult to sleep, he said.

The family is unsure when life will go back to normal. About 3:30 p.m., Vergaza said Pepco and city workers were in the process of clearing the downed lines and trees blocking roads near their house. But he said a city worker told him Thursday afternoon that his family could expect to be out of power “for a while.”

Pepco expects power to be restored for most homes Thursday night and for all homes Friday morning, spokesperson Frank Tedesco said, but if a residence was damaged and electricity could not safely be restored to the property, the process would take longer.

Any downed wire should be assumed to be live, Tedesco said. Residents should avoid it and report it to Pepco.

Pepco said Thursday that it had restored power to the “vast majority of customers” who had outages because of Tuesday’s storms. Crews were “continuing to work around-the-clock to repair outages,” it said.

How Tuesday’s storms unleashed violent winds in Maryland and Virginia

Forty employees of College Park’s Department of Public Works were deployed to clear tree debris from roads, which they will continue to do for at least a week or two more, Ryna Quiñones, a spokeswoman for the city, wrote in an email. She estimated that several hundred trees may have fallen because of the storms and that approximately 99 percent of College Park’s streets were expected to be passable by the end of Thursday.

City crews cannot clear tree debris until Pepco fixes the area’s downed wires, she said, adding that Pepco has deployed more than 500 line workers and support personnel in Prince George’s County.

College Park has set up four cooling centers for residents still without power: The city’s youth and family services office will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and three area libraries will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Some roads in the region still had downed trees and crews were working to clear those areas, authorities said.

Wires were still down on some roadways, including in Prince George’s, where part of Route 1 remained fully blocked near Lakeland Road.

According to Capital Weather Gang, the bulk of the damage in the region was caused by two storm complexes — arcing bow-shaped lines that swept from west to east, fueled by a surge of hot, humid air and sustained by strong high-altitude winds along an approaching cold front.

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