Storms Knock out Power to 2M Across Eastern US

By JEFFREY McMURRAY

Violent storms swept through the eastern part of the United States Friday night, killing a northern Virginia woman when a tree fell onto her home, damaging subway cars in Washington, D.C., and knocking out power to more than 2 million people in the middle of a heat wave.

The storms that converged on Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Indiana and Ohio packed winds topping 70 mph in some places, uprooting trees and damaging numerous homes. They came after a day of sweltering heat across the region.

The nation’s capital reached 104 degrees just before 3 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, beating a record of 101 set in 1934.

Fairfax County police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings said the woman in the Springfield, Va., area was killed during the height of the storm. Authorities were at the scene of the home but weren’t able to immediately get inside, she said.

Jennings said police also were responding elsewhere to reports of a park police officer injured when his car was hit by a tree and an 18-year-old man struck by a downed power line.

As of 1 a.m. Saturday, Pepco was reporting 406,000 outages in the District of Columbia and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, Md.

“We have more than half our system down,” said Pepco spokeswoman Myra Oppel. “This is definitely going to be a multi-day outage.”

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency after more than 500,000 customers in 27 counties were left without electricity.

Several elderly residents from an Indianapolis apartment home were displaced when a tree fell onto a power line, knocking out electricity to the facility, the fire department said. More than 20 residents were taken by bus to a Red Cross facility to spend the night, and others who depend on oxygen assistance were given other accommodations.

In the Washington, D.C., area, Metrorail trains were returned to their endpoints due to the storms and related damage, officials said.

“It has had a widespread effect on the region,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said early Saturday. He said about 17 train stations were operating on backup power due to local power outages, but that he didn’t anticipate service being disrupted on Saturday.

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