Updated Friday, 2:07 p.m.
High winds wreaked havoc on the Friday morning commute and forced the closure of the Federal Government and many schools in the region.
More than 100,000 people were reportedly without power in the region, as steady winds of more than 30 miles per hour came through overnight. High winds were expected to continue through the rest of the day. Gusts of more than 50 miles per hour have been reported.
The Maryland Transit Authority closed crossings to the Bay Bridge temporarily more than once on Friday afternoon, leading to major backups at the toll terminals.
Both MARC Train and VRE canceled service. Metrorail is running trains much slower above ground.
Among regional bus services, Metrobus, Arlington ART and Fairfax Connector are operating on a normal weekday schedule. Passengers should expect delays due to detours caused by road debris across the region.
Weather forecasts indicate that it will be really, really windy on Friday.
That may not be a big deal if you are sitting on an underground Metro car, but it’s worth noting if you commute using one of the major bridges in the area. High winds could also bring down power lines, potentially impacting road traffic.
A high wind warning will be in effect starting early Friday morning with forecasts calling for steady winds of between 25 and 35 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 80 miles per hour.
“Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines,” the National Weather Service said. “Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.”
MARC Train said that all three of its line would operate under the “R” schedule, with more limited stops and trains.
The high winds could impact travel on the Bay Bridge. The Maryland Transportation Authority can restrict or even block crossings altogether if conditions get too dangerous.
The MDTA will issue wind warnings if winds top 30 miles per hour, and if winds top 40 miles per hour, it has the right to block house trailers and empty box trailers from driving onto the bridge.
If winds top 50 miles per hour, only cars and trucks weighing 64,000 pounds or more can cross. The MDTA could block crossings altogether if winds top 55 miles per hour.