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Posted at 5:42 AM ET, 07/28/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: Storm fallout continues

By Washington Post editors
Washington Post editors

Good morning.

While things are slowly returning to normal following Sunday's violent storm, sadly another storm-related death has been reported. Carl Henn, a Rockville civic activist, apparently was struck by lightning during the storm while at a celebration for a community garden program in the King Farm neighborhood on Tuesday. A fund has been set up in honor of another storm victim, Michelle Humanick, a married mother of two, who was killed when a tree fell on her van as she ran errands in College Park.

An update on where things stand:

Power outages. Here's the latest on the power front. Pepco reports the number of outages has dropped from 75,000 Tuesday evening to about 47,000 early this morning. The bulk of the outages are in Montgomery County. Utility officials have said that most folks should have power by Thursday. If you hear otherwise, let us know at PostNow@washpost.com. Meanwhile, Dominion Power customers are back online and all but 150 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers have power.

Cable and internet. Several Post readers complained Tuesday of problems with Comcast service. A spokeswoman said the company experienced "technical issues" Tuesday morning that knocked out some generators serving Montgomery County customers. It's been repaired and service should be back to normal, but if you continue to have problems call: 800-266-2278.

Traffic. Getting around town should be slightly easier. Montgomery County officials report that as of late Tuesday, all but about 40 traffic lights were back on line (down from the more than 200 on Monday) Police officers are directing traffic at major intersections and temporary stop signs have been located at others. District transportation officials said several intersections are still dark, running on generators or portable stop signs. Motorists are advised to treat dark intersections as four-way stops.

For more updates on closures and cooling centers, check our Wednesday update page.

Tweeting to the 'powerless': How'd you like to be the power company's public relations person at a time like this? The Post's Monica Hesse reports that Pepco's young PR guy, who's communicating with the masses complaining on Twitter, is taking it in stride -- even when people Tweet words like "totally clueless" and "completely incompetent."

Today's forecast. Well, it was good while it lasted. The Capital Weather Gang reports the humidity is back today as temperatures edge back up into the mid-90's. Weekend weather has the *potential* to be decent, but it's still too early to tell. There's a 30 to 40 percent chance of storms, but not until later in the evening. CWG is saying 7 to 10ish.

Coming up:

Thoughts about parking? District parking officials are hosting an online chat today at noon. It's the department's regular monthly chat. Parking enforcement is the topic du jour, but the hour-long chat will likely touch on some of the new parking programs being piloted throughout D.C. Here's the website for today's discussion. Residents also may submit questions in advance to nancee.lyons@dc.gov.

D.C. Mayor debate. There's also an 8 a.m. breakfast followed by a mayoral debate on Thursday at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. The event is sponsored by the DC Senior Advisory Coalition and AARP DC.

Counselor slaying. There also may be some news in the case of a 65-year-old counselor who was killed at the Cheltenham Youth Facility in February. We'll keep you updated.

Today's headlines.

Red Line crash. NTSB released its long-awaited report on the causes of the 2009 Red Line Metro crash in which nine people were killed along with several key recommendations for improving safety at the transit system. Their conclusions? A crash was "inevitable" given chronic equipment failures and a "negligent" attitude toward safety within the agency. Even so, NTSB board chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman said the nation's second busiest system remains far safer than the area's roads. Metro's interim general manager Richard Sarles pledged to "carefully consider" the NTSB's recommendations, which are not binding.

A possible serial killer. The Post's Matt Zapotosky profiles the man Prince George's County police believe may be a "serial killer." Jason Thomas Scott was charged Tuesday in the killings of a Prince George's mother and daughter and is a "person of interest" in the killings of another mother and daughter, authorities said.

It's complicated. As we noted yesterday, medical marijuana is now legal in D.C. but setting up a system for selling and distributing it, is a lot more complicated than one might think, The Post's Tim Craig explains. Bottom line: legal sales of medical marijuana probably won't start until next year.

They're out there. Today we launch our tell-us-a-story-over-coffee experiment. Several Post reporters will be hanging out at local coffee shops looking out for great stories. The reporters will have to file their stories by 5 p.m. tonight; then, Post readers can go to PostLocal.com and vote on which story should be published in Friday's paper. We've already gotten feedback on today's "experiment." (Some folks don't think coffeehouses are necessarily the best spots for us to be.) Tell us what you think. Oh ,and if you see @jfdulac ask him if he got his power back yet. You'll get an earful.

Washingtology 'Jeopardy' game, of sorts. Think you know D.C. and all its quirks? Then try to stump our resident experts during a live chat today at 2 p.m. To study up: Go to WashingtonPost.com/Washingtology, a new destination for people who want to know more about "unseen Washington."

Now here's an intriguing duo: Aretha Franklin (vocals) and Condelezza Rice (piano), in concert in Philadelphia. Yes, you read that correctly. It was a benefit for arts education and the Mann Center -- the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Intriguing and just a bit goofy.

That's it for today. Thanks for reading and hope things are returning to normal for you post-storm. Check back with us for more updates and headlines. And remember, comments are always welcome. Post below or send me an email at aratanil@washpost.com

By Washington Post editors  | July 28, 2010; 5:42 AM ET
Categories:  Loris AM Buzz  
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Comments

My building in Silver Spring only has partial power, which means no AC. Full power will not be restored until Friday at 11pm, according to my latest call to Pepco. I'm grateful to have some electricity, but these numbers from Pepco are probably rosier than they look.

Posted by: sarah54 | July 28, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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