High winds halt classes and disrupt DC metropolitan region

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning on Friday, March 2, that will be in effect until 6 AM the next morning. The NWS even called the storm “one of the most powerful windstorms in recent years.” As a result, Montgomery County Public Schools (along with many other local public school systems, like Baltimore City, Howard County, and Carroll County) closed for the day. After-school activities, including tryouts for sports teams for the spring season, have been canceled.

A high wind warning is issued when there are sustained winds of 40 mph with frequent gusts that are at least 58 mph. The northwestern winds that Maryland is currently facing has sustained winds ranging from 25-40 mph with gusts up to 70 mph.

The storm was caused when there was a massive change in air pressure in the coast, and over a relatively small region, this change drove a wind surge along the Eastern seaboard. Winds this strong often result in toppled trees and small structures and can damage power lines.

In fact, by Friday afternoon more than 450,000 people throughout the DC metropolitan region lost power.  State transportation systems, such as MARC limited their services citing the severe weather conditions as the cause.

The winds have complicated efforts to restore power and have also been the source of several traffic concerns. The Maryland Department of Transportation said on Interstate 95 Tydings Bridge, two tractor trailers were overturned.

Forecast meteorologists believe that due to recent rainfall, the moist soil makes it possible for the powerful winds to bring down large trees. Pedestrians or anyone outside should be aware of windborne projectiles. It is recommended that people on the road (especially motorists) take in account the road conditions and refrain from driving unnecessarily. Barring further inclement weather, activities on school grounds, like sports tryouts, will resume on Saturday, March 2.

Featured photo courtesy of WTOP.

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