Jul 31, 2023 - News

Thousands still without power after severe storms strike the D.C. area

 Tree branches littered the Woodley Park neighborhood following a storm in Washington, D.C

Fallen trees in Woodley Park. Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A severe summer storm battered the region on Saturday, downing trees, snapping power lines, and sparking fires.

Why it matters: Thousands are still without electricity as crews and residents scramble to remove fallen trees and limbs from houses, cars, and roadways.

Driving the news: Police are investigating the death of a 43-year-old man after a tree fell on a home in Virginia's Prince William County.

  • The National Zoo along with major roadways including portions of the George Washington Parkway were closed Sunday due to the storm damage.
  • Trees and branches shaved off the sides of homes, landed on top of cars, and littered roads from Sheridan Circle to the MacArthur Boulevard corridor heading into Maryland near Glen Echo.
  • Pepco was sending hundreds of trucks from Baltimore to help speed up power restoration, Glen Echo Mayor Dia Costello told residents in an email Sunday.
A downed power line caught fire in DC
A downed power line caught fire in Woodley Park. Photo: Elizabeth Frantz/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Zoom out: The storms arrived on the heels of a record-breaking heatwave in Washington with three days of temperatures near or above 100 degrees — and a summer marked by extreme weather, including threatening air quality from Canadian wildfires.

Zoom in: "The source of Saturday's fierce winds was a phenomenon known as downbursts," per the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang.

  • "They are common in summer storms and are simply blasts of wind that originate in the clouds and then slam into the ground and fan out. They can produce gusts more severe than low-end tornadoes and are, by far, the most frequent source of violent winds in D.C.-area storms."

What they're saying: Dominion Energy spokesperson Peggy Fox said power would be restored to most customers by 11pm Sunday but that some areas with significant damage could be without electricity through Monday.

A woman walks on a sidewalk filled with tree debris.
Storm aftermath in D.C. Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post via Getty Images
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