Winds cause power outages storm looming

December 31, 1998|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

Windy weather caused scattered power outages in Maryland yesterday, but forecasters -- predicting flurries for the Baltimore area this morning -- are looking ahead to a winter storm that could bring snow, sleet and freezing rain by the weekend.

The National Weather Service predicted snow showers to begin in Western Maryland and, though they expected New Year's Day to be clear and cold, meteorologists said Saturday would likely bring strong winds and icy precipitation.

Tom Dougherty, a National Weather Service meteorologist stationed in Sterling, Va., said today's low will be in the upper teens to low 20s with highs in the lower 30s and winds about 10 mph. Tomorrow will be partly sunny, but Saturday and Sunday are expected to bring a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain, with lows in the mid-20s, he said.

Also this weekend, said weather service forecaster Julie Arthur: "There will be strong northwest winds. And they will be gusty, on the order of 20 to 30 mph. You will be able to feel the wind buffeting your car."

Yesterday's winds -- which blew about 30 mph all day, pushing the wind chill temperature to or below zero degrees -- caused power outages to 14,000 customers in Central Maryland, according to Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

"At any one time, we had as many as 14,000 people out, mostly due to falling tree limbs because of the wind," said David Austin, a BGE spokesman. "The problems were spread throughout [Central Maryland] at least through 5 p.m."

State police in Bel Air said high winds blew water from the Conowingo Dam onto roads, and it froze, requiring salting by state highway trucks.

In Pikesville, winds blew down a traffic light, Baltimore County police said. The signal hit a car, but no one was injured.

In Garrett County, three tractor-trailers and two cars slid off roads during a night and morning of snow and high winds, state police said.

Pub Date: 12/31/98

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