By Xinhua Writer Wang Fengfeng
WASHINGTON, June 30 (Xinhua) — Pummeled by violent storms overnight, large swaths of Mid-Atlantic to Midwest United States were digging out Saturday.
At least six people were killed in the storms, while over 4 million homes and businesses, 1.3 million in greater Washington area alone, were left powerless. Virginia and West Virginia have declared states of emergency.
The storms hit Friday evening, when wind gusts reaching 70-80 miles an hour broke the day-long heat that reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit in Washington. Except Washington D.C., areas affected included Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio.
“It was terrible,” said D.C. resident Diane Binnick. “I almost hit the basement.” Remembering the night before, Binnick told Xinhua Saturday morning she thought it was like a hurricane. “We always think we are in control, we can manage everything,” she said. “But not with a storm like that. You got to have respect.”
By Saturday morning, over 4 million customers were without power, and Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland accounted for 1. 3 million of them. It could take at least two to three days to restored most of them. At least six people were dead, including two in Virginia, two in New Jersey, one in Maryland and one in Washington D.C.
The damage of the storm was evident in and around Washington. In Arlington, Northern Virginia, where large blocks of apartment buildings were without power, people line up in gas stations and grocery stores to get supplies and food stuff, as most families were unable to cook due to loss of utility. Most restaurants were also closed due to power outage.
Inside Washington, tree-lined neighborhoods such as Georgetown and Massachusetts Heights were hit especially hard. Two large trees fell down on Dent Place NW in Georgetown, blocking the road and damaging one car.
Picking out leaves and branches in his property, Jerl Rossi, who lives on Dent Place, told Xinhua that the fallen tree missed his car by several feet, and he thought he was lucky that the neighborhood’s power lines weren’t struck down during the storm.
“The temperature is rising,” he said.
Nor far from Georgetown, in the Massachusetts Heights neighborhood near National Cathedral, emergency crew were cutting up one huge tree that fell during the storm. It completely blocked the road, and crushed one car parked across the street, taking with it power lines along the street. Residents in the neighborhood mostly headed out Saturday morning, as utilities were cut in their homes.
The storm triggered states of emergency in Virginia and West Virginia. In Virginia, Governor Robert McDonnell authorized National Guard to assist with clearing trees and directing traffic.
The storm also affected public transportation in Washington. Metrobus riders faced delays as drivers tried to navigate fallen trees. Although all metro lines were operating, five stations were on backup power, and one lost power completely. The Metro had to deploy shuttles to ferry people to and from two nearest stations.
The storm brought temporary coolness in the morning in Washington. However, the National Weather Service issued new warnings against another day of record breaking heat in Eastern U. S., with temperature expected to creep past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius).
Across the greater Washington area, authorities rushed to open libraries and swimming pools to give residents without power a way to escape the sweltering heat as the day heats up.
- US: Storms leave millions without power 2012-07-01
Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua