- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008

UPDATED, 11 a.m.

A large, powerful storm hammered the Washington area and beyond Wednesday with winds exceeding 50 mph, leaving one man dead and 500,000 without power. Funnel clouds and blown roofs were reported in several places.

A tree fell in Annandale at Hummer and Marshall roads, striking a vehicle and killing a man, Fairfax County fire department spokesman Lt. Raul Castillo said. There was little other damage in the immediate area, he said.

Huu Dai Pham, 57, of Delaware died in the vehicle.

In the Fairfax County section of Dunn Loring, the roof was blown off a house and a tree fell onto the structure, Lt. Castillo said.

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties canceled all classes and school activities Thursday because so many schools were without power.

Potomac Electric Power Co. spokesman Bob Dobkin said the utility was looking at a multiday effort to restore power for all of its customers.

In Falls Church, Michael Gesami said a tree crashed through the roof of his two-story house like a meat cleaver.

“I thought it was really loud thunder,” said Mr. Gesami, 20. “It crashed right through.”

Parents lined up outside schools in Fairfax County to pick up their children after school officials decided not to put them on buses in the midst of the storm.

In Old Town Alexandria, the historic Lyceum museum, dating to 1839, sustained no structural damage when a large tree fell and crushed a covered walkway leading to the building. There were initial reports of a person pinned under the tree, but rescuers found no one, said Capt. Luis Santano, spokesman for the Alexandria fire department.

A crane collapsed at the Sparrows Point steel mill near Baltimore, stranding two workers for a time on a ladder, Baltimore County fire officials said. No injuries were reported. The collapse was reported after 4 p.m. as the workers were unloading a barge.

The National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., confirmed that storm damage in Roanoke on Tuesday night was caused by a small tornado, which touched down at 7:27 p.m.

The National Weather Service had not confirmed any tornadoes from Wednesday’s storm, meteorologist Brandon Peloquin said. He said teams would go out later to assess the damage.

Anne Arundel County fire officials said a tornado touched down about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.

In Chesapeake Beach, Md., Mayor Gerald Donovan said one person was injured when a tornado apparently touched down in the area and ripped the roofs and siding off several homes.

“It scared a lot of people in our town,” Mr. Donovan told WRC-TV (Channel 4). “We’re all very grateful more damage wasn’t done.”

A street-sweeper operator in Chesapeake, Md., was buried with debris and sustained minor injuries.

Delays were reported at the Chesapeake Bay and Woodrow Wilson bridges because of heavy rain and debris kicked up by high winds.

Metro service on the Orange Line was forced to stop at the East Falls Church station during the evening rush hour after power lines fell across both tracks past the station at about 3:30 p.m. Metro provided free shuttle bus transportation, but hundreds were forced to wait as crowds overwhelmed the buses.

It took Rosemary Hidalgo more than 3 1/2 hours to go from the District to her home in Virginia. She had to take a Metro train and a bus to get to her car in a commuter parking lot before she could drive home.

MARC canceled all trains on the Brunswick line from the District to West Virginia for Thursday because of downed trees on the tracks. Service on the Camden Line also was interrupted Wednesday evening because of the storm.

Heavy winds caused major flight delays at Ronald Reagan Washington National and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall airports.

Hail the size of nickles fell in Culpeper and Frederick counties, according to reports.

Sunshine and hot, humid weather, with scattered thunderstorms, is expected throughout Thursday.

— This article is based in part on wire services reports.

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