- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 23, 2005

Wind gusts of up to 41 mph left hundreds of area residents without power on one of the coldest days of the year yesterday, as road crews pledged to clear all streets of snow and ice in time for this morning’s commute.

Officials for the local utility companies said crews were working quickly to restore electricity to households as temperatures reached no higher than 23 degrees. Most of the outages were caused by trees falling on power lines.

Being without power, especially on a frigid day like yesterday, “would definitely not be fun,” said Le-Ha Anderson, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power.

Dominion Virginia customers experienced scattered outages across Northern Virginia, particularly in Springfield and Woodbridge. At 2 p.m., 116 customers were without power in Northern Virginia.

About 15 customers in Herndon also lost power because of an underground cable failure, which company officials said was not related to the winter storm that dumped between 4 and 7 inches of snow in the area on Saturday.

Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco) received reports of scattered, “very routine” weather-related outages, said Robert Dobkin, a company spokesman.

About 2,000 customers in Prince George’s County were left without electricity about 4:45 p.m. yesterday after a county fire department truck struck a utility pole, Mr. Dobkin said. Crews restored power to most of the customers within an hour, he said.

In the southern part of Calvert County, about 20,000 customers lost power yesterday because of a faulty transmission line, said Terry Ressler, a spokeswoman for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative. She said the company was investigating and that officials expected power to be restored to 12,000 of those customers by last night.

Meanwhile, hundreds of plows and salt and sand trucks in Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District were expected to be clearing streets and roads through early this morning.

Several school systems announced delays or closures for today because of the snow. Schools in Anne Arundel County will be closed today. Schools in Fairfax and Prince George’s counties will open two hours later than usual.

Blowing snow yesterday prompted road crews to revisit some routes, transportation officials said.

“Our goal this weekend has been to make sure commuters have an easy trip,” said Joan Morris, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“We are now in the mop-up stages and things should be fine at rush hour. One thing we are being diligent about is that we’ve had a lot of blowing snow and that … can come back onto the roadway and create icy patches. Crews have been monitoring those.”

Officials advise commuters to take their time traveling today.

“People should definitely plan on leaving extra time,” said Valerie Edgar, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. “If you really need to be someplace on time, I would add a lot of extra time for travel.”

Metro planned to run normal rail and bus schedules today, said spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

“Our advice to customers is to just bundle up, especially if you’re waiting for a bus,” Miss Farbstein said. “If it looks like cars are having trouble on side streets, buses are also going to be having some trouble, too.”

Buses might skip side streets if they are not passable, she said. Others might run a few minutes late.

Metro trains were expected to run throughout the night, even after the transit system closes, to keep rails clear of ice and drifting snow, Miss Farbstein said.

A death in Greenbelt was blamed on the weekend storm.

Police said an 18-year-old driver of a Saturn Vue sport utility vehicle spun out of control Saturday, hitting and killing pedestrian Neil Prendable, 48.

The accident occurred about 7:20 p.m. near Greenbelt Road and Lakecrest Drive. Police said it was not clear whether Mr. Prendable was in the road or on a sidewalk when he was struck. The driver of the SUV was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Travelers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Airport endured a second day of cancellations and delays yesterday, as the storm brought more than 2 feet of snow and hurricane-strength winds to parts of the Northeast.

“The main problems today are to the northeast of here,” said Tara Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Flights to other parts of the country operated under a normal schedule, she said.

Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for BWI, said the airport returned to near-normal operations yesterday after flight delays and cancellations caused by the snowstorm.

Mr. Dean said flights yesterday to New England destinations were delayed or canceled because of deep snow and subfreezing temperatures there. “To help them out, we took a number of flights that were diverted from Philadelphia, New York and Delaware,” he said.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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