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A Virginia Department of Transportation truck in Groveton after a May 16, 2022, storm (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Hundreds of people in Fairfax County are still without power after a thunderstorm swept through the D.C. area late yesterday afternoon (Monday).

Outages have been significantly reduced overnight, with the number of people affected dropping from more than 8,000 to about 500, as of 9:30 a.m., according to PowerOutage.US.

In terms of power losses, the storm primarily affected the south part of the county. Dominion Energy’s outage map indicates that 329 customers in West Springfield and over 50 customers in Hybla Valley, Mount Vernon, and Mason Neck are still waiting for their electricity to return.

Likely the result of fallen trees and branches on power lines, the individual outages appear to be limited in scope, each affecting only a few properties. The estimated time of restoration ranges from 1 to 7 p.m. today (Tuesday).

Yesterday’s storm brought 0.42 inches of precipitation to the Dulles Airport area and 0.27 inches to the National side of the region, according to preliminary climate reports from the National Weather Service.

However, the storm also had an unusual twist in the form of hail. Stones about the size of a quarter were spotted throughout the southeastern part of the county, including Franconia, Rose Hill, Fort Hunt, and Mount Vernon.

Maryland residents reported even larger hailstones.

According to the National Weather Service in Sterling, some hail is not especially unusual for this time of the year, but hail of the size seen yesterday is more rare.

“This is the time of year when we start to really warm up consistently. The caveat is that the atmosphere many thousand feet up is still cold as it takes more time to warm up further up at this point,” NWS meterologist Austin Mansfield said by email. “With lower freezing levels (0°C of the air temperature) in the atmosphere during this time of year but warmer and more unstable air masses looming, we can certainly see hail during this time of year.”

The NWS only tracks hail that’s 0.75 inches or larger in its archives. The last time the agency reported large hail in Fairfax County in May was on May 14, 2018, when it recorded hail with a 1.75-inch diameter, or roughly the size of a golf ball.

“Take that with a grain of salt because we are almost certain that hail has fallen in Fairfax County in the middle of May since then but it was more than likely smaller size (dime/nickel/pea),” Mansfield said.

Other scenes from the storm included fallen branches, waterborne trash cans, and post-rain goslings in Reston.

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Power outages following Monday’s thunderstorm are concentrated along the Route 1 corridor (via Dominion Energy)

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) The thunderstorm has passed, but it has left some destruction in its wake, taking out electricity for more than 8,000 people in Fairfax County.

According to PowerOutage.US, there are currently 8,707 customers without power in the county.

The worst damage is in the Groveton and Hybla Valley area along Route 1, where around 5,835 Dominion Energy customers are currently without power, according to the utility company’s outage map.

Outages have also affected over 500 customers in Springfield.

The outages come after a thunderstorm hit the D.C. area earlier this afternoon (Monday), prompting reports of quarter-sized hail.

The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Fairfax County until 4:45 p.m.:

HAZARD…70 mph wind gusts and half dollar size hail.

SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by
downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.

* Locations impacted include… Arlington, Alexandria, Centreville, Waldorf, Dale City, Annandale, Clinton, Springfield, Fort Washington, Fairfax, Fort Hunt, Vienna, Groveton, Falls Church, Huntington, Coral Hills, Mantua, Fort Belvoir, Woodbridge and National Harbor.

NWS urges residents to move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was also issued for the county. It was expected to last until 9 p.m., but got canceled shortly before 5:30 p.m. after the storm moved on.

Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.

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Morning Notes

Construction cranes with Ukraine flag at Reston Station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax Resident Faces Prison for Unruly Airplane Behavior — “Last week, Kameron C. Stone, 30, of Fairfax, Virginia, was sentenced to one year in federal prison for interfering with flight crew and assault by striking and wounding in special aircraft jurisdiction after pleading guilty on February 8, 2022.” [Department of Justice]

Vienna Crash Leads to Power Outage and Evacuations — “According to a Town of Vienna alert, a traffic crash resulted in live, downed wires in the area of Cottage and Elm Streets. Homes on Elm Street from Cottage to Plum Streets and Cottage Street from Cherry to Battle Streets were evacuated due to the potential for fire, according to the town.” [Patch]

West Falls Project to Break Ground — “Developers are expected to break ground this month on the first of three mixed-use projects near the West Falls Church Metro station with a total investment of about $1.2 billion…Falls Church’s George Mason High School was demolished and replaced by the nearby Meridian High School to make way for the first development, which is scheduled to break ground in mid-May.” [Virginia Business]

Fairfax County Among Healthiest in Virginia — “According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute 2022 County Health Rankings report, Fairfax County is ranked the fourth healthiest county out of 133 in the commonwealth. Falls Church City ranks as the healthiest locality, while Fairfax City ranks as 13th in healthiest outcomes.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Unemployment Numbers Decline — “Fairfax County’s jobless rate ticked down slightly from February to March, among ongoing if incremental improvement from pandemic highs of 2020…the unemployment rate of 2.3 percent was down from 2.5 percent in February and well below the rate of 4.1 percent recorded a year ago.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Reston Farmers Market Reaches 25 Years — “One of the people on hand for the opening of the 2022 season was Del. Ken Plum (D-42nd), who has represented Reston in the Virginia House of Delegates for 42 years. Plum and Reston founder Robert E. Simon were on hand 25 years ago for the opening of the first farmers market at Lake Anne Village.” [Patch]

Fairfax County Libraries Celebrate Star Wars Day — Tomorrow (Wednesday) is May 4, and Fairfax County Public Library will let kids and kids at heart indulge their love for the still-ubiquitous space opera with a variety of activities, from origami Yoda at Tysons-Pimmit to an R2D2 photo op in Sherwood. Most events are open to all, though two that require registration have filled up. [FCPL]

It’s Tuesday — Rain overnight. High of 74 and low of 56. Sunrise at 6:10 am and sunset at 8:04 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Tysons Corner Center plaza entrance (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Updated at 8:10 p.m.The power outage in Tysons has been isolated to Tysons Corner Center, with Dominion Energy identifying a failed piece of equipment as the cause.

“Repairs are underway,” Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox said at 7:44 p.m. “We’re hoping to have power back on within the hour.”

Tysons Galleria was able to restore electricity sooner.

Earlier: Both of Tysons’ primary malls have lost power.

Dominion Energy’s outage map indicates that the outages in Tysons are only affecting 17 customers, but two of those customers are Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria, the utility company confirmed to FFXnow.

“Our crews are arriving to locate the problem and isolate the issue so we can switch back on as many people as possible,” Dominion Energy spokesperson Peggy Fox said.

According to a tipster, Tysons Corner Center lost power starting around 5:30 p.m.

Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria are experiencing power outages (via Dominion Energy)

As of 6:50 p.m., Dominion estimates that power will be restored between 8 and 11 p.m. for Tysons Galleria and between 9 p.m. and midnight for Tysons Corner Center.

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Map of Tysons power outage on April 17, 2022 (via Dominion Energy)

Updated at 9:40 a.m. on 4/18/2022 — Power was restored in Tysons overnight. Dominion Energy says yesterday’s outage was caused by a piece of failed equipment.

Earlier: About 2,000 people are currently without power in Tysons.

The cause of the outage is under investigation, as a crew assesses the extent of the damage, according to Dominion Energy.

Per its outage map, the utility company estimates that power will be restored between 8 and 11 p.m. today (Sunday), though spokesperson Peggy Fox says some customers have already gotten power back, thanks to switching and isolation of the issue.

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