Due the extremely high winds which are battering the area and are expected to continue to whip through the Mid-Atlantic Region throughout the day and into Saturday morning, Montgomery County Public Schools and all Federal offices in the District of Columbia will be closed today, Friday, March 2.
“Montgomery County Public Schools and all administrative offices are closed today (March 2) due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings are canceled,” read statement from MCPS released at 4:47 am.
That statement came few minutes after the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management released a statement saying that “Federal Officers in the Washington D.C. area are closed. Emergency and telework-ready employees must follow their agency’s policies.”
Montgomery County Government will be open on Friday March 2. There will be “liberal leave” for non-essential County employees. All essential County employees are expected to report to duty as scheduled. Non-essential employees may use unscheduled annual leave, paid time off, leave without pay or compensatory time without prior supervisory approval.
The National Weather Service has forecast for high winds to batter the area all of Montgomery County is under a High Wind Warning until 6:00 am Saturday, March 3.
“High winds will continue to progress eastward towards the major metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Washington overnight. By daybreak, winds across the region will be from the northwest sustained at 30-40 mph, with gusts 60-70 mph. Isolated wind gusts could reach 80 mph, particularly at higher elevations west of the Interstate 95 corridor. The greatest winds will occur between 6:00 am and Noon on Friday; however, winds will continue to gust from 55-65 mph in the afternoon and continue through Friday night,” said a NWS statement released Thursday night.
At 3:38 am, Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service reported a tree falling onto a house at 19333 Hottinger Circle in Germantown. MCFRS reported no injuries in that incident.
“Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Pedestrians will face very hazardous conditions, and need to be aware of wind-borne projectiles. People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your homes during the windstorm, and avoid windows. If you use a portable generator, follow manufacturer`s instructions and do not use inside homes, garages, or apartments,” continued the NWS statement.
In Montgomery County, at 5:00 am, Pepco was reporting many scattered outages, with about 8,030 customers without power in all of Montgomery County, most of the outages occurring in DownCounty areas. In the Germantown area, Pepco power outages are less widespread.
PotomacEdison is reporting about 1,536 customers without power in Montgomery County, with scattered outages in Barnesville, Boyds, Clarksburg, Germantown, and Dickerson. PotomacEdison is reporting 719 customers in Damascus and 685 customers in Gaithersburg without power at 5:00 am Friday morning.
“This will be a prolonged, high-impact windstorm for the region, with many downed trees and power lines expected,” said the NWS. “In addition to the magnitude of the high wind gusts, the duration of the winds will add to the hazardous nature of this event, as winds will continue through the weekend before diminishing below 30 mph Sunday afternoon. This will hamper the repair of power lines and tree removal.”