- Associated Press - Thursday, August 12, 2010

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (AP) — Storms swept through the Washington region Thursday morning, quickly dumping large amounts of rain, downing trees and knocking out power to thousands of customers.

Fire officials said 10 people suffered minor injuries when a tree fell onto an apartment building in Gaithersburg, crushing its second and third floors. Four people were taken to a hospital, and six were treated at the scene.

Most of the damage in Maryland was in the Washington suburbs, but the Maryland Emergency Management Agency hadn’t received any requests for help by midday, said agency spokesman Ed McDonough. He said more storms could hit the area later Thursday.

About a dozen Pentagon workers with mops and vacuums cleaned water from corridors in one area of the huge Defense Department headquarters in Northern Virginia, while fans were set up to dry the carpet in another corridor.

Another dozen workers were on the roof checking for leaks and other problems, said Lt. Col. Robert Ditchey, a Pentagon spokesman.

About 93,000 Pepco customers in the Washington area were still without power Thursday afternoon, most of them in Montgomery County. Both the White Oak and Walnut Hill Motor Vehicle Administration offices and Montgomery College lost power and were forced to close. A county spokesman said 10 roads are closed and 150 traffic lights are out because of downed power lines and trees.

A Pepco spokesman said some outages are expected to last for several days. About 6,000 BGE customers in the Baltimore area were still without power around midday, down from 22,000 earlier. Thousands also were without power in Delaware.

Two Metro stations also were affected by the outage. The Forest Glen station was closed temporarily and reopened at 9:20 a.m., while the Cleveland Park station remained closed as of 11:40 a.m. Metrorail officials said crews continued to pump floodwater out of the station and could not estimate when it might reopen. Metro trains and MARC’s Brunswick Line also were delayed after a tree fell on the tracks between Silver Spring and Takoma Park, causing Metro trains to share a single track. That blockage was cleared about 10 a.m.

Service on MARC’s Penn Line was delayed between Baltimore and Washington because of power outages.

In Washington, fire and EMS officials said they received about 200 emergency calls related to the storm.

“Every single one of our units was on a call,” spokesman Pete Piringer said.

Flooding also was reported in northern parts of Washington, and Mr. Piringer said about a dozen people were rescued from vehicles trapped in flood waters throughout the city.

In Northeast Washington, lightning set fire to a residential attic. One person was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation.

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