22,000 lose power in thunderstorms

July 01, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

Powerful thunderstorms rumbled across Maryland last night with high winds and at least 7,000 bolts of lightning that knocked out electrical power to thousands of homes.

At Joy's Sub Shop in Glen Burnie, employees and customers were convinced they saw a tornado.

Al Sadaka, who was working at his mother's sub shop on Quarterfield Road, said the wind uprooted two trees, lifted a large trash bin off the ground, shook the shop windows and ripped the letters from the restaurant's exterior about 7:30 p.m.

Whether a twister had dropped in, as Mr. Sadaka suspected, could not be confirmed. But National Weather Service forecaster Robert L. Melrose said the conditions were right -- and he saw "rotor cloud" formations similar to funnel formations crossing above Baltimore-Washington International Airport about the same time.

The Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. reported that 22,000 of its 1 million Central Maryland customers lost power. The largest concentration of them was some 5,200 in the northern Anne Arundel County-Glen Burnie area.

A computerized lightning-detection system recorded at least 7,000 lightning strikes after the storm crossed from West Virginia into Maryland about 6 p.m. until it reached the Eastern Shore about 9 p.m., a utility spokeswoman said.

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