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Car Windows Smashed in Shirlington: Storm Damage or Vandalism?

by ARLnow.com August 6, 2010 at 2:16 am 4,718 14 Comments

At least a half dozen cars had windows shattered in the parking lot of the Shirlington Bus Station Thursday afternoon. It’s unclear whether the breakage was the result of a brazen daytime vandalism or whether it was caused by the strong storms that split trees in half just blocks away from the station.

In some cases the glass appeared to have exploded outward in small pieces, which does not seem like a likely pattern for vandalism. On the other hand, some cars seemed to escape the damage and the large glass panes in the bus station appeared intact.

The bus station is at the bottom of a long hill that leads up to Fairlington, the Arlington neighborhood hardest hit by the storms.

A police spokesperson did not have any information about the shattered glass.

One theory is that the storm brought with it a sudden, violent change in air pressure that caused the windows to “explode.” If you have any other theories as to what happened, we’re all ears.

  • JW

    The type of localized, violent wind damage seen in Fairlington is the result of a sudden and extreme change in air pressure. Although I’ve never heard of air pressure changing so quickly that it blows cars’ windows out, it’s possible that cars parked in the sun on a very hot day could have such high pressure inside that the tempered glass blows out when atmospheric pressure suddenly drops.

    • charlie

      back in the early 90’s a major European car manufacturer had a fairly quiet recall of cars because they were too tight. If only one door was opened and then the door was slammed shut the back window was popping out. Not enough pressure relief as the car was too air tight.

  • Anthony

    Looks like vandalism to me.

  • Jonathan

    I watched this happen from 4th floor window of the building across the street. It was not vandalism, it was a mini-tornado – or micro burst, which also tossed the nearby newspaper vending machines onto the street.

  • Josh

    A colleague of mine’s windows were blown out as well and he lives up near Glebe and Columbia Pike. Seems the storm took its wrath elsewhere as well.

  • Arlingtonian

    During another storm here about two years ago, I noticed three or four cars with shattered windows soon afterwards in my parking lot. And I had a friend several years before that who saw her rear car window shatter during a large storm. So my opinion is that the storm could very well be the culprit.

  • Katie

    Agree, storm/mini-tornado. That was one freaky storm.

    • andrew

      near my back yard and a huge tree branch hit the side of a wooden bench and broke it. if you want to see it it is behind court 5

  • JW

    Another possibility is that small pieces of debris (gravel, pebbles, sticks) were picked up by the wind and had enough force to break the tempered glass. It doesn’t take much force from a very sharp object to shatter tempered glass (for example, those little safety hammers).

  • Fairlington Resident

    Trust me, no one ran outside during that period and smashed car windows for fun. If you see the rest of the damage in the neighborhood it makes perfect sense. I live maybe a few hundred yards from that parking lot, and the wind speed was absolutely terrifying.

  • Shirlington Resident

    To think that it was vandalism in that weather is insane. You couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of you because of all the rain and the wind was frightening. I agree with Fairlington Resident that no one would be out there smashing windows for fun.. a little common sense before publishing would be great.

  • One of my neighbors who works in Old Town said that a number of cars there had their windows blown out during the storm.

  • Chris

    100% act of nature. If you look at the first picture, you can see that the outer edge of the back window is blown out in addition to the large hole in the center. This blow out of the glass along the edge is because of the air pressure, not a vandal chipping at the edge of the window after smashing out the middle. Next hype.

  • Arlingtarian

    I think the author has common sense, is not insane and is not creating hype. I think that ARLnow is a great little community news outlet. The author was doing a great job giving information in an attention-getting way that inspired community dialog. Let’s make ARLnow a civil forum with a positive attitude.
    Kudos to ARLnow staff for a great public service.


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