Hurricane Irene's overnight visit to the Washington, D.C. metro area left fallen trees, blocked roadways, downed wires, and thousands without power. But despite the destruction, local officials say the damage was not as bad as originally predicted.
After plodding through North Carolina and southern Virginia throughout the day Saturday, Irene made her way up the East Coast and moved over the District early Sunday morning.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Irene's winds dropped to about 65 miles per hour around 9 a.m. Sunday, which downgrades her from a hurricane to a tropical storm. Despite the downgrade, the storm's winds were strong enough to knock power out to thousands in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Pepco says nearly 200,000 people are without power in Maryland and D.C. Of those, around 65,000 are in Montgomery County, close to 90,000 are in Prince George's County, and nearly 30,000 are in the District. Virginia Dominion Power says about 120,000 of its customers are without power in Virginia. Baltimore Gas and Electric says a majority of its power outages are in the city of Baltimore and Anne Arundel County. Each have around 100,000 people without power.
Pepco president Thomas Graham says it's too difficult to say exactly when power will be restore.
"As we've always have said, it will be a multi-day event," Graham says. "When you have 220,000 customers out of service, and you’ve experienced the amount of damage that our system has incurred, it’s going to take time."
While the outages to Pepco's customers have been extensive, Graham says the company expected it to be much worse. For comparison, more than 500,000 customers were without power following Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
In addition to power outages, officials say there are nearly a hundred downed wires and trees in the District. Fallen trees and blocked roadways are also a problem in Maryland and Virginia, and officials are asking people to be careful if they’re out near the streets, as crews are working on clearing the roads and restoring lines.
If you need to report a power outage, blocked roadway or fallen tree, please refer to the following contacts: