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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Powerful Sunday Storm Cause Death and Damage

A powerful storm rolled through Prince George’s County Sunday afternoon packing high winds and rain. The storm left a path of destruction in its path and 1 death. Clean-up efforts continued into Tuesday with public works and utility companies clearing trees and lines downed by the storm. Thousands lost power and phone service and commuters struggled with roads blocked by trees and large intersections with no traffic control lights.  The National Weather Service conducted a survey of affected areas and determined the damage surveyed was consistent with very strong thunderstorm outflow staight line wind.  Widespread winds of 60 to 75 MPH were assessed with sporadic narrow focused swaths of 80 to 90 MPH winds. 

Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson opened cooling centers Monday for residents whose homes were still be without power and opened the County Emergency Operations Center to coordinate relief efforts.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, approximately 65,000 county households were without power as the result of a thunderstorm that swept through Prince George’s County about 3:30 pm. Power service has been slowly returning to normal through Tuesday.

A 44-year-old College Park mother of two was killed and her mother-in-law was seriously injured in a freak and tragic crash when a tree fell onto their minivan about 3:30 pm on Sunday in the 10100 block of Rhode Island Avenue in College Park. The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation received reports of 70 fallen trees on county streets. Crews were dispatched to clear the roadways.

The Seven Springs Apartment Complex in College Park and the Emperian Village Apartment Complex in Greenbelt each had building damaged with high winds. A total of 16 building and nearly 200 apartment units, between the two complexes, were forced to evacuate due to damage to roofs from high winds and falling trees.

Firefighters and Medics responded to 723 calls for service on Sunday and 565 calls for service on Monday. An average day would generate 350 calls for service.

Johnson said he decided to open additional cooling stations in the county to provide relief from the expected 90 degree temperatures predicted for Monday.

“The thunderstorm impacted residents in every part of Prince George’s County,” Johnson said. “We wanted to give our residents an opportunity to get out of the heat until their power is restored.”

“Until power is restored, I ask everyone to check on their neighbors to be sure they are safe,” Johnson said.

Johnson said six fire stations and all community and recreation centers will be open as cooling centers on Monday. He also said that residents are also urged to get out of the heat by using the public libraries throughout the county. All community and recreation centers will be opened from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Fire stations used as cooling centers were open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The stations included:

• Station 810, Laurel Volunteer Fire Department No. 1, Inc. 7411 Cherry Lane, Laurel.

• Station 855, Bunker Hill Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association, Inc. 3716 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood.

• Station 818, The Glenn Dale Fire Association, Inc., 11900 Glenn Dale Boulevard, Glenn Dale.

• Station 820, Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., 14815 Pratt Street, Upper Marlboro.

• Station 829, Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad, 3900 Old Silver Hill Road, Silver Hill.

• Station 832, Allentown Road Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., 8709 Allentown Road, Fort Washington.

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