Today's fair weather arrived as a welcome relief to area residents and merchants after a storm yesterday afternoon caused electrical outages to 41,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers and damage to homes and businesses in Anne Arundel and Howard counties.
The break in the weather today -- clear skies and temperatures in the mid-80s -- also brought some much-needed rest to hundreds of utility workers, many of whom have been working 18-hour shifts since Sunday.
The workers' rest period might be only a temporary one, however. The National Weather Service said that there will be a 50 percent chance of rain tomorrow with more thunderstorms.
"The crews are getting a little tired at this point," BG&E spokesman John A. Metzger said today. "They are really looking forward to some sleep."
Those work crews, he said, were trying to restore power to more than 1,000 homes and businesses in Anne Arundel County -- including the communities of Annapolis, Bestgate, Cape St. Claire, Crownsville, Mitchellville and Broadneck. A distribution center was open today on the parking lot of Parole Plaza Shopping Center where BG&E customers could get free dry ice, officials said.
Meanwhile, approximately 50 people still were without power from Sunday's storm, utility officials said.
Metzger said those trouble spots were concentrated north of Towson in Baltimore County. Power should be fully restored to Baltimore and Anne Arundel by today. Power was fully restored in Howard County late this morning.
Officials said problems arose during cleanup efforts Sunday and yesterday because so many trees were downed onto power lines and private firms that remove the trees from electrical wires were "stacked up" with jobs.
The break in the weather gave home owners, business people and utility crews a chance to make repairs and clean up the mess left by yesterday's storm.
Unlike Sunday, when six deaths were attributed to the storm, no injuries were reported yesterday.
Metzger said the storm caused "system damage," the destruction or damage to numerous utility poles and transformers that will have to be replaced before full service is restored.
Metzger said most of the power outages not restored were in the Annapolis-Broadneck area with some in Glen Burnie and scattered outages in sections of Howard County.
He said yesterday's storm centered on the Crownsville-Mitchellville areas and lasted about two hours before dying out over Green Berry Point near the Naval Academy.
He said high winds and lightning caused most of the damage.
"The storm had a lot of punch," Metzger said.
Amet Figueroa, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said wind speeds during the storm yesterday were measured at 33 mph. "But I heard reports of 50 mph or greater from other locations because winds can be very localized in thunderstorms," Figueroa said.
Anne Arundel County police said the Annapolis Mall was hit hard by the high winds that broke several panes of glass in the skylight of the atrium, causing rainwater to enter the mall.
Police said several customers shopping in the mall when the storm hit got wet when rain poured through the broken panes.
Some stores in the mall closed when the power failed, but opened back up when it was restored.
Little or no damage was done to stores in the mall.
Several businesses along many streets in Annapolis sustained window damage and a few traffic signals that were tossed about fell to the street, causing brief traffic problems.