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Posted at 3:48 PM ET, 09/30/2010

Power outage cancels classes, movie

By Maria Glod

See reader's photos of storm | Chat: Weather Gang on deluge

26 injured in Silver Spring Metrobus accident| Two plucked from car in Annandale| Flight attendants injured on Reagan National flight| Partial roof collapse in NE D.C.| Sandbags available for D.C. residents

UPDATE

3:48 p.m.

Another power outage in Rockville Thursday, after days of darkness following the summer storms, had Sue Feldman, owner of Giuseppi's Pizza Plus, on edge.

"I can't put it on a card, honey," Feldman told one customer who had hoped to pick up a couple of slices using plastic. The power went out after 2:00 p.m., and the residual heat in the oven was still keeping a few cheese slices warm. No pepperoni or other late additions allowed, though, because they wouldn't get hot enough. "Cash works today, cash works," she told one relieved customer.

"We're getting sick of this," Feldman said. "We lost thousands of dollars of food last time. That's pretty expensive stuff."

Jo Ann Pessagno was checking out Ben Affleck's The Town at the Regal theater a few doors down when the screen went black. "It was completely dark. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face," said Pessagno, a community association manager. Another customer led the way out with a glowing cell phone. Pessagno got two make-up passes for her trouble. "At least we don't have to sit through that movie a second time," she said.

-- Michael Laris

Much of Montgomery College's Rockville campus also lost power Thursday afternoon, forcing many classes and other operations to close. The South Campus Instructional Building and Mannakee Building have power, however, and remain open for classes and business operations.


More rain expected for the evening
3:08 p.m.
Some parts of the Washington region are getting a bit of a respite from the rain that began late Wednesday night and continued through much of Thursday afternoon. But the Capital Weather Gang says we shouldn't put away the umbrella and galoshes just yet.

A flash flood warning remains in effect for much of the region until 4:30 p.m. A new wave of rain tonight could bring even more flooding. And there's a tornado watch in effect until 7 p.m. for eastern parts of Maryland. The evening commute could be challenging.

Virginia Railway Express officials have canceled two evening trains and flood restrictions remain in place, causing possible delays for evening commuters.

A number of roads remain closed, or are limited in use because of flooding. Bay Bridge officials said two-way operations on the bridge will not take place because of fog and wind warnings. Officials also want of standing water at Exit 28, Cape St. Claire Road, and Exit 28, Bay Dale Drive.

Officials at the D.C. Department of Public Works said sandbags are available at New Jersey Avenue and K Street, SE.

The sandbags weigh between 40 lbs. and 50 lbs. Residents will need to load them into their vehicles, but assistance will be provided if needed. Sandbags will be given out until supplies run out.

NRP: Boating on upper Potomac should be avoided
1:45 p.m.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) announced Thursday that boating and other recreational use of the Upper Potomac River, its creeks and streams, should be avoided. The recommendation was made based on information received from the National Weather Service and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

NRP's advisory extends through Oct. 4 and will be updated as necessary. Due to recent rains, NRP said river levels are hazardous for recreational use on the entire main stem of the Upper Potomac River from Cumberland to Little Falls. This warning does not apply to professionally guided river trips. NRP officials said boaters should always wear a life jacket. Wearing a USCG-approved life jacket is mandatory while boating on the upper Potomac River from November 15 to May 15 each year.

For the latest information on Potomac River conditions between Cumberland and Little Falls, call the National Weather Service at 703-996-2200.

Sandbags available for D.C. residents.
1:30 p.m.

Officials at the D.C. Department of Public Works said sandbags are available at New Jersey Avenue and K Street, SE.

The sandbags weigh between 40 lbs. and 50 lbs. Residents will need to load them into their vehicles, but assistance will be provided if needed. Sandbags will be given out until supplies run out.


-- Christy Goodman

Some school systems to close early
12:44 p.m.
The weather is causing some school systems to amend their schedules. St. Mary's County public schools will close two hours early Thursday. All after school and evening activities have been canceled. Charles County public schools have canceled afternoon and evening activities.

Cars flooded in Prince George's
12:41 p.m.
Sola Oyewole Dada, 44, said he saw nothing out of the ordinary -- at least for a rainy day -- as he drove underneath the Metro train overpass on Rhode Island Avenue in the District. The water level, he said, was only about ankle high, easily passable, he thought, in his SUV.

"There wasn't that much water," Dada said.

But less than four seconds later, "it went up," Dada said. Soon it was at chest level, and the SUV had stalled out. Dada said he got out of his vehicle and walked to safety.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "So quick. So quick."

Just after 11 a.m. Thursday, Dada's SUV was among four vehicles stuck in the water on Rhode Island Avenue. It had water up to its windows. Police and firefighters responded anticipating a rescue, but arrived to find all the occupants had gotten out safely. One was being evaluated by paramedics. Dada stood with another man, staring in disbelief at his underwater SUV.

-- Matt Zapotosky

Power outages around the region.
12:20 p.m.
Officials are reporting that about 4,000 households across the D.C. area are without power. According to Pepco, the bulk of the outages -- about 1,500 -- are in Prince George's County. There are also small numbers of outages in Montgomery (874) and the District (27.) According to the Associated Press, Baltimore Gas & Electric officials say more than 7,000 of its central Maryland customers have lost power -- the majority in Anne Arundel County. At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, more than 2,100 customers were without power, and BGE had restored power to nearly 2,400 others.

BGE says additional outages are likely throughout Thursday and into Friday as the rain combines with predicted wind gusts of up to 45 mph. Flooding of underground gas and electrical equipment is also possible.


Water rescue underway in NE D.C.
11:42 a.m.
D.C. Fire and EMS are at the scene of a partial roof collapse of a home in the 1300 block of F Street NE. There is water damage, but no injuries have been reported.

A crew is also conducting a high water rescue near Bethesda Baptist Church in the 1800 block of Capitol Avenue NE. There are some pedestrians stranded.

Vehicles stuck in high water in NE
11:16 a.m.
Motorists are reportedly trapped in several vehicles stuck in high water in the 1000 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE near the Metro stop, D.C. Fire and EMS report. There is also a report of four vehicles stuck in water in the 600 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE. Five people are said to need assistance.

Water rescues are currently underway.

Storm brings accidents, slow commute
11:08 a.m.
According to Assistant Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Graham, a total of 26 people were injured in a morning collision between two Metrobuses in Silver Spring.

Graham said seven people suffered injuries that are considered serious, but not life-threatening. Nineteen people suffered minor injuries.

A Montgomery County schools spokeswoman said seven students at Montgomery Blair High School were among the injured. She said their injuries were minor.
- Dan Morse


Tornado warnings issues in Anne Arundel
10:08 a.m.
The storm moving through the Washington region continues to produce heavy rain, and in some areas strong winds. A tornado warning was issued for Anne Arundel County until 10:15 a.m. after radar indicated a possible tornado near South River, moving north at 25 mph.

I-395

Morning commuters drive through a misty, rain-soaked approach to I-395 from Seminary Road. (Gerald Martineau/For Post)

Two flight attendants aboard a U.S. Airways flight arriving at Reagan National Airport from Providence, Rhode Island were injured when the plane experienced turbulence, according to a company spokesman. The flight was met by paramedics and the two were taken to a local hospital around 7:30 a.m., officials said. Information on their conditions was not immediately available.

Traffic problems continue. Congestion on the Beltway -- in both directions -- around the Dulles Toll Road and Old Dominion Drive; potential flooding on the ramp from Route 7 eastbound to I-495 North; and the eastbound lane of University Boulevard in Silver Spring is still blocked following a collision this morning between two Metro buses.

At least 16 people were injured when one bus rear-ended another about 7 a.m., authorities said. Montgomery County schools spokeswoman Lesli Maxwell said the passengers included seven Montgomery Blair High School students. She said their injuries are minor. Six students went to Holy Cross Hospital, Maxwell said. One student walked to Blair and medics were summoned to treat her.

Metro officials said in a news release that the driver of the Metrobus that caused the collision was cited by Montgomery County Police for failing to control the vehicle speed.

-- Maria Glod

Tropical Strom Nicole moves through the region
9:33 a.m.
Heavy rainfall, flash floods and strong wind gusts Thursday made for a messy, and sometimes dangerous early morning commute for Washington area residents.

Numerous accidents and road closures were reported as the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole swept through the region.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Calvert and St. Mary's County until 9:45 a.m. There were indications that a possible tornado was near St. George Island, moving north at 50 mph.

On University Boulevard in Silver Spring at least 16 people were injured when one Metrobus rear-ended another Metrobus about 7 a.m., authorities said. Montgomery County schools spokeswoman Lesli Maxwell said the passengers included seven Montgomery Blair High School students. She said their injuries are minor. Six students went to Holy Cross Hospital, Maxwell said. One student walked to Blair and medics were summoned to treat her.

Authorities around the region warned drivers to avoid standing water and be careful of slick roads. Several minor accidents were reported and lanes on a number of roads have been blocked due to flooding.

In Fairfax County, rescuers safely plucked two people from a car that became stranded in high water on Woodburn Road in Annandale. And in Montgomery County, a jackknifed tractor trailer led to delays on the Inner Loop lanes of the Beltway just north of Bradley Road, but officials said the scene had been cleared.

-- Maria Glod and Dan Morse

By Maria Glod  | September 30, 2010; 3:48 PM ET
Categories:  Traffic and Transportation, Weather  
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Comments

Must have been the tornado sweeping thru to pick up the "Wicked Witch of the West" (Pelosi) to take her back to LaLa Land with no action on taxes.

Posted by: atthun | September 30, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Morons think their cars are U-Boats. What a waste of time for Fire and Rescue.

Posted by: Pilot1 | September 30, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Why were 7 Blair High School students on a metro bus? MCPS provides school bus service. Do these students live in Montgomery County, or do they live in DC?

Posted by: postisarag | September 30, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@postis - The bus was not coming from DC or PG, it was coming from the northwest. Many Blair students take the C2/C4 buses, as they make a straight line on University Blvd past Blair, whereas the school buses have to go in roundabout routes to get there.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | September 30, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"Soon it was at chest level, and the SUV had stalled out. Dada said he got out of his vehicle and walked to safety."


how is this possible? How can you walk through chest high water? How did it go from ankle high to chest high in 4 seconds? Sounds like someone is fabricating to cover their ignorance in trying to drive through standing water against all precautions.

Posted by: jackson641 | September 30, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Jackson641, the tunnel under the tracks at Rhode Island always had a tendency to flood, and since they've begun construction on the new development at the station the situation's gotten much worse. As part of the construction process they denuded the entire hillside, which means there's nothing to absorb a heavy rain and huge amounts of exposed dirt and other debris clog the drains.

Obviously I wasn't there when Mr. Dada's car got stalled, but there is definitely an engineering problem (perhaps compounded by driver behavior) at that particular location.

Posted by: josephine124 | September 30, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Re. Mont Co students riding the Metro buses. Some Montgomery County School students take the Metro Bus because they don't have MC School bus service if you live under 1.8 miles away from your school. A mile or more can seem really far, especially when it is raining.

Posted by: flower208511 | September 30, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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