Storm speeds across Md., cuts power to 95,000

July 22, 1998|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

An article in yesterday's Maryland section incorrectly reported the amount of power used in the Baltimore region on Tuesday. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said the usage was 6,016 megawatts, a summer record but lower than the all-time high.

The Sun regrets the error.

A fast-moving storm whipped through portions of Maryland yesterday evening, cutting power to more than 95,000 people in Montgomery and southern Prince George's counties.

The heavy winds from the largely dry storm also left 9,800 without power in southern Anne Arundel and northern Prince George's counties, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. officials said. BGE spokeswoman Kathleen Nolan said power was expected to be restored by 2 a.m.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts between 50 and 80 mph.

No damage to businesses or homes in any part of the state was reported, but Potomac Edison Power Co. officials handling Washington area outages said they called in extra emergency crews to restore power. Residents called in more than 120 reports of fallen power lines in the area.

State police in Bel Air, which caught the tail end of the storm as it moved out to sea, called it a "typical summer thunderstorm."

The storm began in Western Maryland and, moving at 40 mph, passed through the state in less than two hours, dropping only a quarter-inch of rain, said Chris Strong, a weather service meteorologist.

The storm largely avoided the Baltimore region, where thousands of people seeking relief from a high of 97 degrees turned on their air conditioners and used 6,038 megawatts of power, breaking BGE's record for usage on a summer day, said Nolan.

The previous record was 5,980 megawatts used on July 16, 1997.

Yesterday's heat also brought unhealthy levels of ozone -- or smog -- to the area, sending the Maryland Department of the Environment's air quality index to a "code red" for parts of the region. MDE issued a code orange, a step below red, for today and recommended that children and the elderly stay indoors.

MDE advises people to limit outdoor activities, refuel cars after dusk and avoid mowing lawns.

Pub Date: 7/22/98

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