An incoming cold front will likely mean a strong line of storms this evening and the National Weather Service says those conditions make tornadoes possible.
The NWS issued a Tornado Watch for the D.C. area, including Montgomery County, until 10 p.m.
Most weather experts put the storms hitting our area around 4 or 5 p.m.
A Tornado Watch is a less severe alert than a Tornado Warning, though people are urged to be cautious of the severe weather:
A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
Heavy rain predicted for this afternoon has led the National Weather Service to issue a Flood Watch for most of the Washington region, including Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are warning drivers in areas prone to flooding to be aware when the heaviest of the rain comes this evening.
… FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING…
THE FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR
* PORTIONS OF MARYLAND… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA… INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS… IN MARYLAND… ANNE ARUNDEL… CARROLL… HOWARD… MONTGOMERY… NORTHERN BALTIMORE… PRINCE GEORGES AND SOUTHERN BALTIMORE. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA AND FAIRFAX.
* FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING
* A PERIOD OF MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IS EXPECTED TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. RAINFALL TOTALS BETWEEN ONE AND TWO INCHES ARE EXPECTED.
* LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL MAY CAUSE SMALL STREAMS AND CREEKS TO RISE OUT OF THEIR BANKS… OVERFLOWING LOW LYING AND URBAN AREAS. DO NOT EVER DRIVE INTO FLOOD WATERS.
A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS.
YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP.
The National Weather Service says storms this afternoon might bring damaging winds and flooding rains to Montgomery County and much of the D.C. area and Pepco says it’s ready.
The power company released a statement today saying it has extra crews prepared for today’s storms, which caused NWS to also issue a Wind Advisory until 6 a.m. It issued its latest info on the storm at 7:30 p.m:
…LINE OF HEAVY SHOWERS TO AFFECT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA…ARLINGTON…MONTGOMERY…PRINCE GEORGES…HOWARD AND FAIRFAX COUNTIES…
AT 733 PM EST…HEAVY SHOWERS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 2 MILES EAST OF GREAT FALLS TO WOLF TRAP TO CLIFTON…MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.
LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE WEST SPRINGFIELD…MANTUA…THE AMERICAN LEGION BRIDGE…CONGRESSIONAL MANOR…WOLF TRAP…ASPEN HILL…NORTH SPRINGFIELD…SPRINGFIELD…THE I395 AND I495 INTERCHANGE…CLOVERLY AND SPENCERVILLE.
HEAVY RAIN WITH THESE STORMS WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO BELOW ONE MILE AND MAY CAUSE PONDING OF WATER ON ROADWAYS.
BRIEF WIND GUSTS OF 35 TO 45 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED WITH THESE STORMS.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pepco is closely monitoring approaching winter thunderstorms. The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the Washington Metropolitan Area until 6 a.m. Thursday. The strongest winds are expected late this afternoon and this evening out of the south at 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 to 50 mph.
High winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines causing power outages. Heavy rain can adversely affect saturated soil and allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.
Pepco will have extra line and tree crews available and the Call Center will be staffed overnight. Pepco has about 150 internal linemen and more than 400 contractors already working on its system available if needed.
Customers are asked to please call in any outages and stay away from any down wires. ? To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662), follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Outages also may be reported through pepco.com or through the mobile app.
For more information and updates, visit www.pepco.com, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect, and download our mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.
In a Special Weather Statement, the NWS said the warm temperatures of the past few days combined with an arriving cold front could mean some severe weather:
Most deal with clearing snow and walking on ice:
Cold weather is here and more precipitation is likely. Planning to stay safe outdoors is especially important right now. Please consider these strategies:
- Arrange to have snow and ice removed from sidewalks and steps.
- Wear boots or shoes with deep treads or traction slip-ons.
- Avoid going out alone into snowy or icy conditions.
- Use handrails on both sides of outdoor stairs.
- Take your time while walking. Shuffle along with short, low steps and avoid a stiff posture.
- Keep hands out of your pockets since youll need them to restore balance if you slip.
- Carefully consider whether to walk over uncleared snow or to go around it. Test how slippery a potentially slick area is by tapping your foot on it.
- Buy a shovel that feels most comfortable to you.
- Since a shovel full of snow can weigh more than 10lbs, push the snow out of your way instead of lifting it. Use your legs (knees), not your back. Hold the shovel with arms apart to maximize leverage.
- Do not shovel snow if you have heart disease or another physical condition that limits your and activity. Shoveling can increase blood pressure and cold weather constricts blood vessels, resulting in a significant increase in heart attack risk.
Bethesda Green will host a discussion on emergency preparedness with some of Montgomery County’s main people in charge of the local response to events such as the derecho last summer or Superstorm Sandy last month.
The panel discussion, set for Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will address four questions on how the county deals with the type of severe weather that can lead to power outages and other disturbances:
- What plans does Montgomery County have in place in preparation for a hurricane Sandy or derecho type of event?
- What resources are currently available to community residents to best prepare themselves and their loved ones?
- What items should I have stocked in my home to prepare for a weather-related or human-caused disaster?
- What role does the county, state and/or federal government play in preparation and response to natural and man-made disasters?
Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) is confirmed for the event, as is Jason Holstine, owner of the Amicus Green Building Center in Kensington. Other invited guests include Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Battalion Chief Jim Resnick, FEMA official Steward Beckham and Chris Voss, from the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security.
The event is free and will take place at Bethesda Green, on the second floor of the Capital One Bank building at 4825 Cordell Avenue. Bethesda Green is a nonprofit with a green business incubator that also takes on educational projects about sustainability in Bethesda.
For more information and to RSVP, visit the event website.
Metro Single Tracking This Weekend — Workers are doing repair work on the Red Line between the Friendship Heights and Grosvenor-Strathmore stations, meaning at least 20-minute waits. [WMATA]
Bethesda Art Walk Tonight — The Bethesda Urban Partnership’s monthly Art Walk is tonight. Participating galleries open their doors at 6 p.m. The tour, either self-guided or with a guide, closes out at 9 p.m. Check out Gallery B for the Trawick Prize 10th anniversary exhibit. [BUP]
Tree Falls On Reporter’s House, Reporter Talks About It — WUSA9 correspondent and Bethesda resident Bruce Leshan got some bad luck during Superstorm Sandy last week when a tree fell on his house, causing significant damage. [WUSA9]
County May Ditch Community Center Model, Go Bigger in White Flint — In the Montgomery County Department of Parks’ presentation to a Council committee yesterday, officials said they might one day ditch the idea of traditional-sized community centers for mega centers that combine recreational activities with indoor pools. One of those centers would be destined for White Flint because of its expected growth over the next two decades. [Washington Examiner]
Video courtesy of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services via Telly
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services Chief Richard Bowers this afternoon welcomed back 80 county emergency responders who spent the last nine days in New York and New Jersey assisting authorities and victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The crew was called up on Oct. 28 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an Urban Search and Rescue Team with the primary mission of finding and rescuing victims of the storm trapped in homes by flooding. According to a MCFRS press release, the team also assisted in transporting emergency vehicles — boats, water rescue equipment, tractor trailers and off-road 4×4 vehicles — to help move personnel into affected areas in the New York and New Jersey region.
The responders returned to Montgomery County today.
The team was moved to Ft. Dix in central New Jersey near the coast as the storm moved in. The crew moved a 14-vehicle convoy of essential equipment into flooded, powerless areas.
There were still as many as a million people without power in the region this weekend.
“From me to all of you, thank you very much. I’m very proud of this team. I’m very, very proud that as a resource the federal government is able to, if you will, build a team from the local level and be able to send it wherever is necessary to make a difference. And that’s what you did. You made a difference, you made a contribution,” Bowers said. ”I know what you need now because I’ve been in your seat. You need a little rest. You need probably a warm meal, and a nice warm bed.”
The trucks and snow plows were on full display Thursday at the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Bethesda Depot. Plow operators gathered in the cafeteria for the county’s annual “snow summit.”
Those plows will likely be put into use soon, potentially again and again if predictions of a more snowy than usual winter hold up. Thursday’s event was part preparation, part pep talk and part introduction to make sure all (the plow crews, State Highway Administration workers, Parks officials, contractors and others) were on the same page.
“I take this very personally. We have all this sophisticated technology. You can go online, look at what’s happening in your neighborhoods,” County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) told the summit. “But it is, I think, clear now that if anyone wanted to reach me, then it’s a very simple process. All they have to do is call me at home. I’m listed. My telephone is there. And I can tell you that people call. So I know very personally what happens with all the winter operations because people call me at all times of night. I’ve received phone calls at 2, 3 o’clock in the morning with people calling me with the challenges they have on their streets.”
The man in charge of DOT’s effort to plow those streets is Keith Compton, chief of DOT’s Division of Highway Services. His snow plow crews are responsible for clearing 5,000 lane miles of roadways in five geographically organized sections of the county, a task that in large snowstorms can mean lengthy turns plowing and re-plowing streets.
“The most important thing is food,” Compton said. “Protracted events mean that our operators need to be well slept and well fed.”
Days after Hurricane Sandy swept through the region, the Montgomery County government is turning its attention to what forecasters predict will be a more snowy than usual winter.
On Thursday morning, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) will speak at the county’s “snow summit”, where officials from agencies with snow removal responsibilities will discuss their readiness for winter storms and some new tactics.
The summit is taking place at the county’s Department of Transportation Bethesda Depot, home to a fleet of snow plows and trucks responsible for maintaining some of the county’s nearly 5,000 lane miles of roads.
After getting little significant snow last winter, forecasting company AccuWeather is predicting above average snowfall in 2012-2013 for Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern cities including Washington D.C.
The biggest storms are expected to hit in January and February. The D.C. region gets an average of 14.6 inches of snowfall each winter season.
Flickr photo by Craig Thoburn
MCPS, County Government, Federal Government All Open Wednesday — The D.C. region gets back to normal after two days of Hurricane Sandy cancellations. Metro reopened Tuesday afternoon with a Sunday schedule, and will be back to a normal weekday schedule today. [Washington Post]
Group Says North Bethesda Haunted House Disrespectful — A group of people identifying themselves with the Marshall Islands says The Warehouse: Project 4.1 should rebrand after basing part of its haunted house story on nuclear testing gone wrong in the Marshall Islands. The group even started a petition that says the company behind the haunted house “has chosen to capitalize on the tragic past of a small island nation for profit and entertainment.” [The Gazette] [Change.org]
Early Voting Reopens, Extended — After Sandy led to two cancelled days of early voting, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has extended hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at all polling places and ordered they open through Friday. [Montgomery County BOE]
Flickr photo by Signalbot
Instead, the general manager at BGR The Burger Joint (4827 Fairmont Ave.), found the power was on and the restaurant was in better shape than expected after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on other areas of the East Coast.
The only thing off was a small water leak from the roof in the bathroom.
After closing because of Sandy, BGR was back open on Tuesday, one of many Bethesda businesses opening back up after a rare day off on Monday.
Most shops and restaurants on Bethesda Row were open, or opening at least for part of the day Tuesday. Most Woodmont Triangle businesses were open as well.
Don Battista, general manager of Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (7900 Norfolk Ave.), said the restaurant’s headquarters told him he had to close Monday. It was the first time he could remember Rock Bottom closing because of weather in his 13 years there.
Not everybody closed down. Battista’s around-the-corner competitor Union Jack’s (4915 Saint Elmo Ave.) took advantage of being one of the only Bethesda bars open to serve a rush of customers off from their own jobs.
And of course, there was Tastee Diner (7731 Woodmont Ave.), the venerable all-day breakfast joint that has become a gathering place when Bethesda loses power.
“We always stay open no matter what,” said manager Beth Cox. Her staff was dealing with a larger than usual lunch crowd on Tuesday. With the federal government shut down for the second day and Metro closed until this afternoon, many residents stayed close.
One local economist estimated more than $35 billion in economic losses stemming from the storm, some of it from two days of lost business.
But as Sandy left town, leaving some rain, minor damage and a smattering of power outages, Hill felt fortunate.
“I was expecting a lot worse than this,” he said.
Flickr photo by ehpien
Bethesda appeared to suffer much less significant damage than officials had predicted for Sandy, which made landfall in South New Jersey last night.
About 1,830 Pepco customers were without power in nine Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and North Bethesda zip codes at 9 a.m. The utility company had predicted perhaps hundreds of thousands of customers in its Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington D.C. coverage area would lose power.
There was significant tree damage in the 5900 block of Grosvenor Lane. Power has been shut off in that neighborhood as crews work to untangle a mess of downed trees and power lines just east of Old Georgetown Road.
A traffic light came down at the intersection of East-West Highway and Waverly Street around 11:30 p.m. Monday, though it didn’t appear to cause any further damage.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services reported 324 dispatches countywide between 5 p.m. and midnight. The peak period came between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., when MCFRS units were dispatched 156 times. From midnight to 4 a.m., MCFRS units were dispatched 47 times.
The most significant incident in Montgomery County came in Silver Spring, where a downed tree on an apartment caused a gas leak that displaced 19. There were no injuries.
Power Outages Linger As Sandy Dies Down — About 4,707 Pepco customers were without power at 6:30 a.m. in nine Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and North Bethesda zip codes, down from a peak of 7,105 at 11 p.m. The worst of Sandy hit New Jersey and New York, where historic flooding caused massive power outages and at least seven deaths in the region. A fatal car collision Monday morning in Clarksburg was deemed a weather-related incident. [Pepco] [New York Times] [Washington Post]
MoCo, D.C. Region Shuts Down For Second Day — MCPS is closed for the second day. So is the federal government, Montgomery County government and Bethesda Circulator. The Montgomery County Council meeting scheduled today will be rescheduled for Nov. 6. WMATA says it will make a decision around noon on whether to reopen Metro for the afternoon. [WTOP via Twitter]
Number of Roads Remain Closed — Wisconsin Avenue between Willard Avenue and River Road remained closed this morning because of downed trees. Kensington Parkway was closed between Beach Drive and Glenmoor Drive, Little Falls Parkway closed between River Road and Massachusetts Avenue, Beach Drive closed from the D.C. line to Grosvenor Lane because of high water. [Montgomery County DOT]
D.C. Region Economic Hit An Estimated $35 Billion — With damage and the expected loss of two days of business, University of Maryland economist Peter Morici predicted the region’s economic losses at $35 to $45 billion. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr photo by jmharman73
The pace of damage from now “Superstorm” Sandy picked up in Bethesda just before 9 p.m. Monday, a trend reflected countywide according to a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesman.
Assistant Chief Scott Goldstein said “MCFRS noticed an increased tempo of responses,” to downed trees, wires and other damage as winds picked up and heavy rain continued. He urged people to remain in their homes and off the roads.
Despite a relatively low amount of power outages (about 2,500 in nine Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and North Bethesda zip codes, according to the Pepco outage map) a number of trees and downed wires were reported from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Police closed down Glen Clove Parkway near Newport Avenue after a tree fell on an unoccupied car and home in that residential neighborhood around 7:40 p.m.
A tree fell on and knocked down wires on Willard Avenue near North Park Drive and River Road in Chevy Chase around 8:30 p.m., causing live wires on the street.
Downed trees were also reported near Grosvenor Lane and Farnham Drive and near Grosvenor Lane and Cheshire Drive just east of Old Georgetown Road around 8:40 p.m.
Police reported another downed tree in the 9100 block of Kittery Lane, just south of where Bradley Boulevard passes over the Beltway, at about 9:45 p.m. A tree fell on wires and witnesses said sparks were visible.
Goldstein said MCFRS has increased the amount of personnel on-hand through tomorrow and possibly into Wednesday, depending on the need. Montgomery County Police also urged people to stay off the roads:
If you must travel during the storm or after the storm, remember that when approaching a traffic signal without power, state law requires you to treat the intersection as a four-way stop. #mdsandy
While winds are expected to die down Tuesday, rain will continue, causing the second day of a number of closures around Bethesda, the county and the D.C. Metropolitan area.
Officials expect the worst of Hurricane Sandy to come this evening, when the storm makes landfall in Southern New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service:
AT 2 PM EDT… THE CENTER OF HURRICANE SANDY WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 38.3N… LONGITUDE 73.1W. THIS POSITION IS ABOUT 220 MILES EAST OF WASHINGTON DC. SANDY WAS MOVING NORTHWEST AT 28 MPH… WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 90 MPH. SANDY IS FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY COAST EARLY THIS EVENING… WITH A LITTLE STRENGTHENING POSSIBLE BEFORE LANDFALL. SANDY WILL SEVERELY IMPACT THE REGION WELL BEFORE IT COMES ASHORE.
Winds will be at their peak from 6 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning and could reach gusts of 80 miles per hour in the D.C. suburbs:
WINDS WILL INCREASE STEADILY THIS AFTERNOON…WITH THE MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS OCCURRING LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING.
GENERALLY…SUSTAINED WINDS OF 30 TO 50 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION.
HURRICANE FORCE WIND GUSTS OF 70 AND POSSIBLY 80 MPH ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT A REGION LOCATED BETWEEN BEL AIR MD…POINT LOOKOUT MD…AND HAGERSTOWN MD BETWEEN 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 AM TUESDAY. THIS INCLUDES THE GREATER BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREAS.
COUPLED WITH HEAVY RAINS FROM SANDY…THE HIGH WINDS WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT TREE DAMAGE AND POWER LINE DAMAGE.
This afternoon, Pepco officials said power outage restoration may take a week in some areas. As of 3:45 p.m., 1,005 customers in six Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and North Bethesda zip codes were without power, according to Pepco’s online outage map.