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US Capitol goes dark, thousands lose power
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 13, 2014

The US Capitol building and other iconic Washington landmarks briefly went dark Wednesday as powerful wind gusts also caused tens of thousands of people in the area to lose power.

Winds were gusting at 47 miles (76 kilometers) per hour in the US capital, as temperatures were plummeted from a balmy high of 69 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) to an expected low of 21 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.

The service said the strongest winds could gust up to 55 miles per hour, and anticipated "scattered tree and power line damage... Difficulty driving high-profile vehicles."

The Capitol dome, where power was knocked out for about 30 minutes in a rarely seen event, was not the only building affected by the blast of colder air.

"Lights flickering in Ft Belvoir area after big wind gusts. Praying dinner can finish cooking first if we are to lose power!" Rachel Morales wrote on Twitter, using the handle @RMoandMo.

Elanit Jakabovics, using the handle @ezrothschild, wrote: "flickering here in West End and street lights out. Electricity NEVER goes out here. First flickers in years."

The powerful winds brought more misery to the area after it had just started to emerge from a particularly cold and prolonged winter.

Utilities reported widespread outages across the region.

Around 10:00 pm (0200 GMT), Pepco said more than 1,900 customers were in the dark after earlier reporting closer to 5,000.

In the Northern Virginia suburbs, Dominion Power said the winds had knocked out power for more than 38,000 customers, while Baltimore Gas and Electric reported upwards of 20,000 customers without power in Maryland suburbs.


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