Trees have been cleared and power and phone lines repaired after a wall of thunderstorms swept through the area Sunday evening, causing an estimated $250,000 in damage.
Mark Brady, spokesman for Prince George’s County Fire Department and EMS, said damage from the storm was concentrated around Glenn Dale and Bowie. High winds uprooted and split trees, which snapped power lines and caused them to crash onto homes. Heavy damage was felt along Enterprise Road near Route 50 and Chantilly Lane in Mitchellville, and on Central Avenue and Mitchellville and Church roads in Bowie, according to Mr. Brady.
Telephone service and electricity were out throughout the region. Baltimore Gas & Electric reported that 2,600 customers were out of power yesterday morning, 1,200 of them in the Annapolis/Bowie area. All service was restored by midafternoon. Potomac Electric Power Co. officials said 5,500 customers had no power Sunday night. Most electricity was restored before midnight. A Verizon spokesperson said about 200 customers were without phone service, but all were expected to be restored by today.
The storms were caused by a cold front from the Great Lakes colliding with hot, humid air that surrounded the metropolitan area, according to Parks Camp, National Weather Service meteorologist. Mr. Camp said the next chance of scattered afternoon showers will be tomorrow or Thursday and will probably not be as strong.
Though the damage from the wind was unusual, this is typical of the region’s summer pattern, Mr. Camp said.
“This is going to happen early in the summer, when you occasionally have these cold fronts come down,” he said.
A lot of the wind damage was caused by downbursts. Unlike a tornado, which usually rotates wind counterclockwise, a downburst is a strong gust of wind from a storm that goes straight down, hits the ground, then spreads out. Some downbursts can be more than 80 mph and have been cited as the cause of some airplane crashes.
Residents hit hard by the storm spent yesterday cleaning up. Rudolph McComb, a 30-year Enterprise Estates resident, hired a team to remove parts of a 30-foot tree in his front yard that broke in half during the storm and buried his home. The fire department had to come and clear a path to the front door.
“My wife screamed because it was like the cracking of toothpicks. Then it came down on our house,” Mr. McComb said.
Surveyors are coming to examine the house for structural damage. The cleanup will cost Mr. McComb about $2,000, but he is just thankful no one got hurt.
“I had four limbs cut off of it about three months ago. If I wouldn’t have cut those limbs, it would have come into the house.”