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Parts of Virginia struggle with power outages

Thursday - 3/7/2013, 9:19am  ET

AP: 767968ae-905b-42b9-8bd0-0db2b743e5be
A morning commuter, bundled against the cold, watches the snow begin to fall in D.C. early Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
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WASHINGTON - A day after some parts of Virginia received mo re than 20 inches of snow, the state is dealing with more than 135,000 power outages.

While D.C.'s inner suburbs made it through the storm relatively unscathed, electric cooperatives across Virginia reported more than 76,650 outages Thursday morning. About 56,650 Dominion Virginia Power customers are without electricity. Appalachian Power outages total about 1,700. More than 215,000 people in Virginia lost power Wednesday.

The snow prompted Gov. Bob McDonnell to declare a state of emergency, calling up National Guard soldiers to help clear roads.

Power outages

In Northern Virginia, more than 27,000 customers remained without electricity at 9 a.m. Thursday.

More outages are possible Thursday as winds gust out of the northwest at 10 mph to 20 mph.

Of those without electricity in WTOP's listening area, more than 23,000 are Rappahannock Electric Cooperative customers in Culpeper, Fauquier, Spotsylvania and Orange counties.

About 4.100 are Dominion Power customers in Northern Virginia.

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative has about 1,000 customers out. NOVEC says everyone's power should be back by late Thursday.

The phone numbers to the electric companies are available by texting "POWER" to 91035.

Print the utility phone number list.

Those who lost power can call 202-380-9977 to listen to WTOP via phone.


Closings

The aftermath of the storm prompted a number of school systems in Virginia to close. Among them were Prince William, Fauquier, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

Two of the largest Virginia school systems -- Fairfax County and Loudoun County -- opened two hours late.

Federal agencies in the Washington, D.C., area opened on time Thursday. On Wednesday, they were closed.

See on the closings and delays on WTOP's Closings and Delays page.


Snowfall depended on location

Snow totals around the region varied widely.

Here are some of the unofficial totals from the National Weather Service:

LocationSnow total in inches
Purcellville in Loudoun County9.1
Woolsey in Prince William County7.5
Woolsey in Fauquier16.1
Glendie in Stafford7.1
Chantilly in Fairfax6.7
Vienna in Fairfax County1.5
Damascus in Montgomery County5
Glen Echo in Montgomery County1.6
Oxon Hill in Prince George's County2
Reagan National Airport0.2
Haywood in Madison County17
Dulles International Airport3.3
Barboursville in Orange County14
Wintergreen in Nelson County20
Linden in Warren County20
Front Royal in Warren County12
Massanutten in Rockingham County20.1
Berryville in Clarke County10.6
City of Fredericksburg6

Here are more snow totals from the National Weather Service.


Why was there such a disparity in the snow totals?

Some areas, including D.C., Arlington and Southern Maryland, saw little snow. The snow melted quickly on warm sidewalks and streets. And it turned to rain.

ABC7 meteorologists said the storm had a split personality.

To the west, it looked like a classic, late-season snow storm, while to the east and off the Chesapeake Bay, it looked like a spring thunderstorm or coastal storm, said ABC 7 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts on Wednesday afternoon.

Early Thursday morning, ABC7 meteorologist Brian van de Graff described the storm as a "tale of two cities."

"It was a few degrees yesterday that made the difference as the snow could not come down heavy enough to overcome the mild surface air," van de Graff said.

ABC7 meteorologist Bob Ryan describes how elevation made a difference with this storm.

Some areas could see pockets of ice on the roads, but temperatures for the most part are 34 degrees or higher, van de Graff said.

The National Weather Service at 5:15 a.m. said parts of central Maryland, including Montgomery and Frederick counties, could see slick spots Thursday morning.


Forecast

Look for temperatures between 44 and 49 Thursday, with winds out of the northwest at 10 mph to 20 mph. The same thing for Friday.

Overnight lows will be between 32 and 36.

Saturday will be sunny and in the low 50s, and it will be near 60 with lots of sun Sunday.


Mass transit

Virginia Railway Express, Metro, MARC and MTA commuter buses will operate as normal Thursday.

Fredericksburg Regional Transit sys there will no morning or afternoon VRE feeder bus service on VF1, VS1 or D6. All other routes will start two hours late.


Storm highlights

  • Rising temperatures and melting snow could mean flooding in some areas of Virginia, including western Prince William County where more than a foot os snow fell. Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart says residents can help out by clearing out areas around fire hydrants and clearing debris from culverts and gutters.

  • In Fauquier County, a tree fell on 52-year-old Joseph Brozina as he was cutting damaged trees at his home on Aquia Road in Midland. He died.

  • A huge, old tree fell on the roof of a Capitol Heights home. The tree sliced through through the top floor. A woman in the home's kitchen saw the roof cave in. Everyone managed to get out of the home without any injuries.

  • In Silver Spring, a tree smashed into an occupied car on New Castle Drive. One person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to the Scott Graham, spokeman for Montgomery County Fire and EMS.

  • Winds gusting up to 55 mph forced the Maryland Transportation Authority to shut down the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for almost four hours Wednesday. The bridge closed around 2:30 p.m. and reopened about 6:10 p.m. Wednesday. Earlier in the day, a tractor- trailer hit the guardrail and overturned on the westbound span, shutting down two of the three traffic lanes.

  • On Maryland's Eastern Shore, flooding was reported in low-lying areas in Crisfield and in Cambridge, where waves topped the bulkhead at the Cambridge Marina.

  • In Virginia, two tractor-trailers jackknifed on opposite sides of Interstate 66. One accident shut down the westbound lanes in The Plains for hours. The other occurred in the eastbound lanes in Linden between Front Royal and Delaplane.

  • By 2 p.m. Thursday, Virginia State Police had responded to 556 traffic crashes and 386 disabled vehicles statewide. Most of the crashes were property damage only and none was fatal.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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