Hurricane-Force Storms Hit D.C. Area After Day of Record Heat

Saturday, 30 Jun 2012 07:39 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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Powerful storms struck the mid-Atlantic states with hurricane-force gusts on Friday, knocking out power to more than one million people in the region and prompting the West Virginia governor to declare a statewide emergency.

Statewide emergencies were declared in Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia because of damage from overnight storms, which brought hurricane-force winds along a 500-mile-long stretch. At least eight people were killed.

About 3.5 million customers lost power in a band from Indiana to New Jersey. In some places it might not be restored for a week.

Among the victims of the weather was Saturday's third round of the PGA's AT&T National golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., where several downed trees litter the course. Play eventually resumed after a six-hour delay, but without spectators, who were banned from the course.

Gov. Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for all of West Virginia following storms that he said left an estimated 500,000 people without electricity in at least 27 counties.

The declaration allows "government resources to be devoted immediately to helping those in need and restoring power as soon as possible," he said in a statement.

Wind gusts clocked at speeds of up to 79 mph were reported in and around the U.S. capital, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Washington Times reported two people dead in separate incidents in Springfield, Va. A 90-year-old woman died when a tree toppled on her house and a man died when his car was hit by a downed tree.

The high temperatures were blamed for the deaths of two brothers, ages 3 and 5, in Bradley County in eastern Tennessee. They had been playing outside in 105-degree heat.

Bands of rain lashed the District of Columbia, and winds littered the streets with tree limbs as the fast-moving storms, which started in the Midwest after a day of severe heat, reached Washington and its suburbs late in the evening.

WTOP radio said more than 800,000 people in the Washington area were without power. Outages hit several Washington Metro stations, the Washington Post reported.

A flash-flood warning was issued in Frederick County, Md., until 1:15 a.m. on Saturday.

WUSA television in Washington said "thousands of trees" and tree branches were likely downed by the storm.

Temperature records for the month of June were broken on Friday in Washington, Atlanta, Nashville and Louisville, Kentucky. In all four cities, the temperature hit at least 104 F, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm caused power outages and downed trees throughout the region.

Among the problems at Congressional were scattered trees, including a large tree down on the 14th hole. Tournament officials will honor all Saturday tickets on Sunday.

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