- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 6, 2007

Wind gusts of up to 55 mph yesterday morning canceled the annual Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk.

The event has brought as many as 40,000 to 60,000 people for the 4.3-mile walk along the eastbound bridge span from the Eastern to the Western Shore.

The cancellation kept the eastbound and westbound spans open as usual for motorists. However, drivers of tractor-trailers and other large vehicles were cautioned about the sudden, powerful gusts.

The northerly winds also prompted the Coast Guard station in Baltimore to issue a gale-force wind warning.

The sustained 35 mph winds created surflike 4- to 7-foot swells in the Bay, Coast Guard officials said. At 7 a.m., 45 mph gusts also pushed high waves around the Thomas Point lighthouse, which is about six miles south of the bridge, said Calvin Meadows, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Bay Bridge administrator Sharon Lechowicz said the 2007 bridge walk will not be rescheduled. Traditionally, the walk occurs on the first Sunday of May.

The winds were less powerful in the D.C. region and diminished to about 15 mph by the afternoon.

That allowed about 3,000 runners to huff and puff through a 26.2-mile marathon in Frederick, Md.

The wind knocked down a big tree in the morning along Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, near the Naval Observatory, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Officials said the tree was cleared shortly after noon.

The wind was more like a breeze for participants in the annual Avon Walk and the Race for Hope in the District.

The walk, with headquarters at Sligo Middle School in Silver Spring, consisted of a 26-mile run or walk for 3,100 participants on Saturday and 13 miles yesterday. This was its fifth year, and it raised $7.4 million to help fight breast cancer, said Susan Heaney, spokeswoman for the Avon Foundation.

About 7,000 runners were in the five-kilometer race or the children’s one-kilometer Race for Hope, at Freedom Plaza, to encourage donations to treat and cure brain tumors and brain cancer.

“The wind had no effect,” said volunteer Joshua Weinberg, whose father died from a brain tumor. “It was a great success.”

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

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