WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Strong winds and heavy rains plowed through the Washington, D.C., area on Saturday, possibly spawning two tornadoes while knocking out power to tens of thousands.
Meteorologist Andy Woodcock of the National Weather Service said tornado-like funnel clouds were reported Saturday afternoon in Chantilly, in Fairfax County, Va., and in Prince George’s County, Md. The weather service hasn’t confirmed they were tornadoes.
There were also reports of malfunctioning traffic lights and downed trees and power lines in the area as thunder, heavy rains and winds approaching 60 mph struck the region, part of a severe weather cold front stretching across much of the East Coast.
In Prince George’s County, emergency officials were attending to about a dozen people who, as the storm arrived, made a panicked rush for the exits at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the county fire and emergency management agency. Three people were being taken to the hospital for what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries at a county fair.
In northern Virginia, one person suffered minor injuries during a partial stage collapse at the Rosslyn Jazz Festival, a fire department spokesman said.
As of 7:30 p.m., nearly 76,000 customers were without electricity in northern Virginia, according to Dominion Electric. Pepco was reporting outages to roughly 55,000 customers in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. BGE was reporting nearly 21,000 outages, most in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.
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In D.C., there were reports of about 10 downed trees, including one that came down on a Southeast apartment building undergoing construction, said Christopher Geldart, the district’s emergency management director. Six people had to be evacuated from the building. There were no reports of major flooding, he said.
Fairfax County officials reported three home cave-ins because of downed trees, a water rescue in the Potomac River and dozens of down electrical wires, said Dan Schmidt, a fire department spokesman.
The storms also delayed the Miami Marlins-Washington Nationals game in the middle of the ninth inning. The game resumed after 2½ hours, with the Nats winning 7-6 in 10 innings.
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