Severe storms Friday night left nearly 463,000 Dominion Power customers in the dark, caused major damage and injured an unknown number of people across Northern Virginia. While Arlington County was hit hard, no injuries or fatalities had been reported here as of 1 a.m.
As of 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Dominion estimated the following number of outages:
- Alexandria - 26,800
- Arlington - 58,000
- Fairfax County - 242,750
- City of Fairfax - 9,000
- Falls Church - 4,700
- Prince William County - 22,000
- Loudoun County - 36,117
"We just have so many outages," Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson said.
Numerous people posted on social media that much of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor had lost power. Courthouse Station was in the dark. Metro bus and rail service experienced delays throughout the night. The transit authority advised people to travel "only if necessary."
"It's really tough to say which part of the county is the hardest hit from my observations," Arlington County Emergency Management Director Jack Brown said. "Driving around and talking to people… it's pretty much countywide."
As of 1 a.m., emergency calls had slowed down but were still steadily coming in. Police, Department of Environmental Services and Parks and Recreation workers were out and would be through the night.
Saturday morning, crews will begin doing damage assessments. Restoring power is a priority, Brown said, because the weekend is forecast to be hot and a lack of air-conditioning may cause heat-related illnesses.
County crews are working with Dominion Power to restore service, he said.
"They'll get power restored as soon as they can," Brown said. "This will take many hours. I can't say for sure, but it could be days. This has been a huge event. We're still doing initial assessments."
Outage reports continued to come in through the early morning, said Anderson, with Dominion Power. It was unclear when the electric company would be able to give its customers an accurate restoration time.
"They're still outages that are coming in," Anderson said. "They are brand new outages. And what our crews are telling us is that as they get lights back on in one location, they go out somewhere else. So I expect we'll have outages until the storm passes through our service area.
"And once the storm passes and it's safe for our crews to go out and patrol, we'll do a thorough assessment of what the damage is. And only after we do that can we give good restoration times."
Oftentimes, people assume the electric company knows about an outage and then don't report it, Anderson said. No one should make that assumption.
"These next several hours are going to be very crucial. And reporting the outage is an important part of that process," she said.
Report power outages to Dominion at 866-366-4357.
Some power had been restored as of 1:30 a.m.
According to the National Weather Service, measured wind gusts included 71 mph at Washington Dulles International Airport and 70 mph at Reagan National Airport. The weather service has received numerous reports of downed trees and power lines.
A severe thunderstorm watch for Northern Virginia lasted until 1 a.m.
Mary Ann Jennings, Fairfax County police spokeswoman, said power outages affected police stations and the county's public safety dispatch center. Emergency responders have received reports of dotwn trees, power lines and injuries, she said.
"It's not good, and we're trying to get to the most severe and serious cases first," she said.
Jennings said the county has already received 25 reports of trees that fell onto houses or vehicles.
"It's going to be a long night," she said.
More than 1 million homes and businesses across the greater D.C. metro area were without power by midnight, the Washington Post reported.
Dominion has offered the following safety tips for residets who have lost power:
- Turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads to the company's system when power is restored.
- Listen to your local radio station on your car or battery-powered radio for regular news and weather updates. Don't rely on your neighbors to report your outage.
- Post a list of contents on your freezer door to minimize the number of times you open it.
- Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
- If using portable or camp-type stoves or lanterns for cooking and lighting, ensure that the area is adequately ventilated.
- Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized.
- Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
- Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize "dead" power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers. Customers should connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated power cord having a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.
- Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide and can be deadly, so run your generator outside with proper ventilation. Store the fuel for your generator safely.
- Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call 1-866-DOM-HELP.
McLean Patch Editor Bobbi Bowman contributed to this report.