Preparing for Severe Storms or even a Possible Derecho


Capital Weather Gang reports:

Storms, particularly those in the afternoon, may produce flooding rain, damaging winds, hail, and even isolated tornadoes. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center places the region in a relatively rare “moderate risk” zone for severe weather.

If this thing does hit please send photos, questions, observations or anything related to the storms/derecho via email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com or via twitter to @PoPville, via facebook to, or via Flickr to the PoPville pool. Hoping the power stays on and please stay safe everyone!

From previous storm warnings:

Dealing with Downed Trees

Residents are reminded to stay clear of broken and hanging tree branches, which can fall at any time.

· Please report any downed tree branches by calling 311.

Residents are also reminded to stay away from downed wires, as they could be energized and electrical contact could be fatal. Report downed wires to Pepco by calling 1.877.PEPCO62

Power and Water Outages

To report a power outage, please call Pepco at 1.877.PEPCO62. Customers may report outages online at or download Pepco’s smart phone app, to report and track outages. To report a water outage, residents can call DC Water at 202.612.3400


Motorists are reminded to treat dark intersections as four-way stops and to avoid driving through standing water.

And if your power does go out here is a good guide from USDA:

Keep/Toss charts for Fridge and Freezer

Any other good advice to add?

18 Comment

  • What do you do if you get on the metro after work and it’s just raining, but by the time you get off the metro it’s derecho-esque? Do you camp out in the metro station? I don’t want to be crushed by a tree on my walk home, but I also don’t want to be stuck in limbo.

    The timing of this storm looks perfect this scenario.

    • Camp out at the metro station. The bad part usually passes quickly. You’ll probably end up waiting 15 or 20 minutes tops and your walk home will be safer and less wet.

  • Please don’t use the term Derecho – it feeds into the alarmist media hype.

    • Derecho-esque is my pathetic short hand for very strong and damaging storms, whether they qualify as a derecho or not. I fully agree with Capital Weather Gang that focusing on the term and thinking there is less risk if it’s not a dercho is not the way to go on this. I agree that the media hype is not helpful, but seriously, it’s a silly term on a blog comment. I’m not publishing a headline that say “if it’s not a derecho you shouldn’t worry!”

      • My comment was actually directed to PoP….and perhaps an over-reaction to other media that are hyping this storm in a way that isn’t helpful.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Ok I’ll try to stick with “Massive Storm Front” in future posts.

    • Exactly. There is a strong thunderstorm coming people – not the end of days, get a grip. I cannot believe the OPM allowed unscheduled leave/telework today over a thunderstorm. Seriously? I grew up in the south, where violent storms are guaranteed on a regular basis in the summertime and I never once recall school or work being called off over a thunderstorm. What’s next, closing the government because it’s too windy?

      Oh, also, if they are so good about predicting derechos then where was our warning last year?

      • jim_ed

        Do you live in the same city I do?

        I remember pretty distinct warnings of extra severe thunderstorms coming in last year.

        I also remember attempting to drive to Wheaton the next day and finding gridlock and near anarchy because half the roads in MoCo were blocked with down trees, where no one had power, and this was a weekend morning, not mid-week rush hour.

        Also, do you remember the rush hour snow storm of a few years ago that lead to 8+ hour commutes home for fed workers, and the area littered with abandoned cars?

        OPM is being prudent to avoid another scenario like that. And if it knocks down as many trees and causes power outages like last year’s storm did, it’s a plausible scenario.

        • Well put.

          In this case, it seems like the negative consequences of being underprepared are far worse than those of being overprepared. It’s not like the government is shutting down for the day.

          • My boss flipped over people taking the unscheduled telework option offered by OPM. Definitely seems like mixed messages.

      • justinbc

        It’s unscheduled telework, where people are still doing work (how many jobs actually necessitate being in an office). Or leave, where you actually have to use your leave days. This is not some outrageous action, it’s a preventative, optional measure.

      • Re: OPM offering unscheduled leave/telework for workers.
        This policy costs OPM little and grants employees valuable flexibility. Major storms can mean downed trees, power lines, and flooding. Even if there isn’t a danger to people during a commute, these conditions may mean somebody needs to stay at home. For example, if my power goes out, the sump pump (which prevents my basement from flooding) won’t work.

    • Yes, lets avoid the meteorological names for weather events out of fear that people might misinterpret them. Wouldn’t want people to get the impression that severe thunderstorms with winds in excess of 50 mph were dangerous. This storm has only been knocking down trees and ripping the roofs off of buildings as its made its way across the country, clearly no need for alarm.

  • It’s 2:50 and semi-sunny. there have been some brief showers during the day and NOAA has kept saying the bad stuff would be less and later. It’s been constant weather porn since yesterday, including the derecho nonsense. I’ve (1) ignored tv weather; (2) tried to ignore or playfully question people who’ve obviously watched tv nonsense, and (3) relied on NOAA rather than anything else.

    Contributing to weather porn is just not helpful. Headlines aside, things weren’t that bad over most of the territory where this weather was yesterday.

    • I hope you’re eating crow now. The storm that passed through 30 minutes ago was very intense and no one should have been on the streets during that brief time.

  • @PoP – wasn’t there a young woman on a bike or a moped or something during the derecho last summer who was struck by a falling tree somewhere near 16th Street and subsequently paralyzed? While obviously that was a freak accident and extremely unlikely, getting hurt or killed is slightly *more* likely during weather like this. Use your head and stay inside. Even if the risk is small, why take it at all?

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