- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Utility crews restored electricity to most of the thousands of residents across the D.C. area by noon yesterday, after wind gusts and heavy rain downed power lines overnight.

“We had 3,500 outages at most at any time,” said Mary-Beth Hutchinson, a spokeswoman for Potomac Electric Power Co., which covers the District and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. officials said about 2,000 outages were reported in northern Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

At the peak of the storm, Montgomery had about 2,000 outages; Prince George’s, about 1,000 and the District, about 500.

“It was wind, rain and tree branches that did the damage,” Ms. Hutchinson said.

More outages occurred in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties because trees toppled by high winds and branches downed power lines and transformers that served communities instead of just single dwellings.

The storm was not blamed for more than normal electric power outages in Northern Virginia.

“It did not do much, thankfully,” said Le-Ha Anderson, a spokeswoman for Dominion Virginia Power. “We’ve had minimal damage.”

The inclement weather had been predicted, but ended earlier than expected.

A front came through the D.C. area between 5 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. yesterday, said Calvin Meadows, a meteorological technician with the National Weather Service.

In some areas, wind gusts reached about 45 mph. Temperatures, which reached the 50s Tuesday, dropped to the mid-30s overnight. Today’s temperatures are expected to reach the mid-50s.

Yesterday morning’s storm was modest compared with the one last weekend, when high winds were blamed for more than 14,000 power outages in the D.C. area.

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