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Strong winds whip Washington, but lack ferocity felt elsewhere.



Powerful winds swept across the Washington region on Saturday night, gusting above 60 mph and knocking out power to thousands of homes and businesses.

The winds tore down trees, pulling power lines down with them. At one point, about 9,000 homes and businesses in Fairfax County, Va., lost electricity, and in Loudoun County, Va., about 5,000 lost power.

In suburban Maryland, a total of about 5,000 electricity customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties alone were plunged into darkness by the winds, according to a power outage website.

Traffic lights were also affected, and in some spots, winds toppled trees onto houses, as the day became one of the windiest here in many weeks.

The early part of the day appeared generally breezy, but the winds did not seem to flex their maximum muscle until sundown and afterward.

By day’s end, gusts in the 30, 40, and 50 mph range were reported at Reagan National Airport.


At 9 p.m., a 56 mph gust was recorded at National, while meteorologists measured sustained winds there of 37 mph.

Gusts of 63 mph were reported in Montgomery and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

Earlier, before the most powerful gusts asserted themselves, we had rain, breeze and skies that seemed to grow spectacularly dark.

But at least until nightfall, Washington’s atmospheric backdrop, at least according to initial accounts, may have had relatively minor effects. That is, beyond the vivid appearance presented by the darkening evening skies.

At moments near sunset, as banks of jagged gray clouds advanced from the west, they dropped dark tendrils toward the ground that may have merely showed where rain fell, but may have reminded us of the funnel clouds that devastated other areas.

At least once, wind in a cherry tree sent petals flying as if a sack of feathers had been flung open and scattered.

Source: Washington Post


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