D.C. severe storms June 13: Storms knock out power

Large trees were uprooted throughout the D.C. area. (Photo: Tom Roussey)

During Thursday's powerful storm, Elena Torbemko, a new homeowner, was inside her home at the time moving in the last of the boxes when the ominous clouds moved in.

She was inside when she heard a big bang and the next thing she knew, there was a huge hole in the roof.

Like in several areas of the county, trees were no match for the powerful wind and heavy rain. The ground was already extremely saturated and the massive root balls flipped up like bottle caps. The newly renovated home now deemed uninhabitable.

"Anything can disappear in a second,” says Peter Sanders, one of the home owners. “What are you gonna do?

The couple was excited to spend their first night in the home tonight. But they are looking at the bright side, they weren't injured and their cars was narrowly sparred.

The previous homeowners, an older couple, lived at the house for 39 years. They had the house on the market for the last four of those.

Tornadoes touch down

The National Weather Service confirmed that tornadoes touched down Thursday in Laurel and Olney. Water spouts were seen forming over the Patuxent River.

In Richmond, Va., a 4-year-old boy was fatally struck by a tree that toppled while he was visiting a park with his father. Capt. Emmett Williams of the Richmond police said the boy was crushed by an old yellow tulip poplar tree that became uprooted from rain-soaked grounds during heavy winds and rains.

The father was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Maymont Park board member Mary Lynn Bayliss said workers with bullhorns were scrambling around the 100 acres of preserved woodlands and gardens to try to get people to safety.

Lightning from a fast-moving storm may have sparked a fire that killed a western Pennsylvania man early Thursday, the state fire marshal said.

And during an initial wave of morning storms, a 19-year-old woman who works as an intern at Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Md., northeast of Baltimore, was struck by lightning while feeding the animals. She was being treated at a hospital after a co-worker performed CPR.

Sue Sumner's 85-year-old neighbor is staying with her for the time being after that fast moving powerhouse storm ripped a tree out of the ground in the neighbor's backyard in West Laurel.

The 85-year-old woman and her 59-year-old daughter, who neighbors said suffers from down syndrome, had just watched the tornado warning blaring on their TV screen.

One resident said what hit the block looked like two walls of water coming from different angles, like waves suspended in air and it surrounded the woman's house.

The woman and her daughter survived but the house is so damaged they can't live in it right now.

Other neighbors were shaken by what could have happened to their longtime friend.

Damage from the storm

Some damage was reported by trees falling in the district and beyond. In the district, fallen trees closed down the 1700 block of Willard Street Northwest and the 800 block of V Street in Northwest.

In Maryland. an 80 foot tree fell onto a shed and fence in the 2100 block of Croyden Avenue in Rockville.

The storms claimed an unusual casualty: a centuries-old tree.

Donna Sizemore tells The Carroll County Times that a roughly 380-year-old white oak tree was uprooted on her property during the Thursday morning storm. The tree stood 91 feet tall and was part of the Maryland Big Tree Program. It was last measured in 2008 at 14 feet 3 inches in circumference, with a 99-foot spread of its top branches.

Sizemore, who lives south of Westminster, says she could have been killed had the tree fallen the other way onto her home.

Another Rockville resident affected by a tree falling onto his home is Steve Snyder. He has no power – even though utility crews have restored power right next door.

“It’s frustrating,” he says. “It’s two storms within one year.”

Snyder’s insurance company actually just completed repairs on a new roof and bay window, which was demolished by last year’s derecho.

Last year it was to the right side of the house, and this year it’s to the left. But unfortunately, emergency crews can’t dry out the house this time because there is no power. For now, he'll just have to wait.

Deaths in North Carolina

Three additional deaths in North Carolina are being blamed on the massive storm system that started in the Upper Midwest and brought soaking rains and heavy winds to the Mid-Atlantic.

Authorities say a volunteer firefighter died in Wilkes County on Thursday afternoon when he was electrocuted after responding to a fire when a tree fell on power lines.

In the same county, authorities say 77-year-old Maurice Kilby died when a tree fell on him in his yard. Officials say Kilby's wife found him and called for help but he'd died by the time rescuers arrived.

Another woman in Orange County died when she was hit by a falling tree in downtown Chapel Hill.

At least four people died in the storm that caused widespread power outages, flooding and flight delays.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.