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 August 8, 2023

Federal employees to flee Washington, D.C., in droves after severe weather warnings issued

Severe weather warnings caused federal employees to flee Washington, D.C., in droves Monday afternoon, the Washington Examiner reported. A line of severe storms put approximately 15 million people on notice until late in the evening.

Parts of North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the nation's capital were under threat from storms that carried heavy rain, wind, thunderstorms, and hail. A line of tornado-producing storms was expected to cut through from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C. and beyond.

"We are under a level 4 out of 5 risk [for severe weather]," a tweet from the Capital Weather Gang segment of the Washington Post tweeted earlier on Monday, "The last time that happened locally was June 13, 2013; the previous time before that was the June 29, 2012 derecho," the post recounted.

"So the @NWSSPC sees ingredients in place for numerous dangerous storms in the area," it warned. A rating of 4 put the warnings in the category of "moderate" risk.

The National Weather Service Prediction Center also put out a warning on its own website Monday. "REMEMBER...A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area," the agency said.

"Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings." The storms moving through the east had already wreaked havoc this weekend on areas of Kansas, Illinois, and Alabama.

On Sunday, more than 40,000 residents of Alabama were left in the dark Sunday in the wake of the storms. Power lines were knocked out by high winds that brought down tree limbs onto the wires.

Armed with this knowledge and all of the warnings, thousands of government workers were sent home before 3 p.m. Monday in anticipation of the impending weather, the Washington Post reported. Authorities were asking people to take the warnings seriously and clear the city.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded 1,200 flights in preparation for the incoming storm, with others rerouted away from the weather. After all of the preparations, the wind and heavy rain did come to Washington, D.C., but all was cleared up by about 7 p.m.

However, locations outside of the city weren't as fortunate, according to CBS News. Maryland State Police responded to the scene on Route 40, where at least 33 adults and 14 children became stranded by utility poles that were knocked down in a powerful storm.

"They were stuck there because the powerlines came down, and they couldn't get out of their vehicles," said Carroll County Sheriff James DeWees on Monday night."We have remained in constant communication with those in the vehicles and they are safe."

The power lines were shut off and the motorists were given water until everyone was evacuated. They were taken by bus to a nearby high school as many of the vehicles were left disabled on the road.

Despite all of the destruction, NBC News reported that only two people were killed as the storms moved through the south and east of the U.S. Thousands of people remained without power due to the downed powerlines, however.

Summertime means carefree days with vacation and time off from school for many people. However, the hot weather also brings powerful storms that can sometimes be destructive and even deadly if people aren't forwarned and prepared.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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