- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 15, 2004


Tropical Storm Charley turned out to be nothing more than a lingering shower for the city and Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

The hurricane that pummeled Florida and raced through Georgia and the Carolinas on Saturday lost its fervor by the time it reached the mid-Atlantic.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport received six-tenths of an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Pepco reported no outages. Alexandria and the District handed out hundreds of sandbags in the days before the storm, but no flooding was reported yesterday.

The storm left some Virginians with flooded streets and power outages but caused little damage Saturday night when it passed over the state on its trek up the East Coast.

Norfolk received 3.72 inches of rain — a record for that day — and saw wind gusts up to 45 mph. Several Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk and Newport News, said streets were closed late Saturday due to high water.

But John Billet, an NWS meteorologist, said yesterday that forecasters are not expecting additional flooding in the area. “As far as I know, all of the flooding has gone down,” he said.

Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest utility, said 29,000 residences in its territory were in the dark at the outages’ peak Saturday night. The Richmond-based company was unable to provide separate figures for the affected Virginia residences but said most of the outages were in northeastern North Carolina.

Only 3,000 of its North Carolina customers remained without power yesterday morning.

With the storm out of their service area, Virginia Power line workers began leaving for Florida, where they will help restore power in communities battered by Hurricane Charley, which had turned into a tropical storm before it hit Virginia.

A contingent of 120 linemen left early yesterday for Florida and an additional 100 personnel plus contractors will leave today, said Dominion Virginia Power spokeswoman Daisy Pridgen.

It was just a rainy weekend in Maryland, as well, state officials said.

Ed McDonough, a spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, said there were no damage reports anywhere in the state.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport received less than half an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Salisbury reported about 2 inches, and St. Mary’s County reported a little more than 2 inches.

Peak winds at BWI and at the Patuxent River Naval Station in southern Maryland hit 18 mph.

Rob Gould of Constellation Energy Group said Baltimore Gas and Electric had no problems. Mr. Gould said the utility, which serves more than 1.1 million customers in Maryland, scaled back extra resources it had on hand at about 9 p.m. Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the long trip to Florida was cut short for Montgomery County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team.

The 80-member team and its road convoy left late Saturday to help after the hurricane devastated parts of the state. But county fire and rescue spokesman Capt. Oscar Garcia said the Federal Emergency Management Agency told them to turn back around 1 a.m. yesterday as they were driving through South Carolina because they weren’t needed.

A local chapter of the American Red Cross also sent a small team to Florida. A team of seven left yesterday morning and had not yet arrived when The Washington Times spoke to the Red Cross.

But spokesman Cameron Ballantyne said they had not been turned back and they planned to stay in Florida “for as long as it takes.”

Judith Person contributed to this report.

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