Thunderstorms hit Baltimore area

2-inch hail falls in Carroll County

flights delayed at BWI

May 11, 2000|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

With the early season heat wave that hit Maryland this week came thunderstorms yesterday more typically seen in midsummer.

Rain and high winds hit the northwestern parts of the Baltimore area with 2-inch hail falling in Carroll County, according to the National Weather Service.

At 5 p.m., just before the cold front arrived from the Ohio Valley, the temperature in downtown Baltimore was 86.

When the storm moved through about an hour later, it had fallen to 69.

Funnel clouds were reported around western and northern Baltimore County, but no tornadoes were confirmed, said Dewey Walston, a weather service forecaster in Sterling, Va.

"It all depended on where you were," Walston said. "Some places like Carney and Lutherville got strong winds and hail, others just rain. The storm moved in around 5 p.m., and by 8 o'clock was over the Chesapeake Bay, headed for the ocean."

At Baltimore-Washington International Airport, arriving and departing flights were grounded as the storm played havoc up and down the East Coast.

BWI went into its "ground stop" policy about 5: 15 p.m., said an airport spokeswoman, with at least 25 flights postponed for several hours.

"It's a problem here and other places," said Betsy Sanpere, the spokeswoman. "The way it was moving, we weren't going to send flights to areas that were getting the storm," she said.

Affected airports included those in Boston, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., and New York, Sanpere said.

Yesterday's high was 87, recorded at 3 p.m.

Today is expected to be sunny with a high in the low 80s, the beginning of a few days' respite from unseasonally warm temperatures.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. reported about 5,100 power outages throughout the region because of the storm, with most of them in Anne Arundel County.

Crews were working late last night to restore service.

In Anne Arundel, lightning severely damaged a Riviera Beach house during an early morning round of storms.

The lightning bolt struck the roof of a rancher in the 8400 block of Miramar Road, igniting a fire in the attic, according to the county Fire Department.

Two Yorkshire terriers alone in the house were rescued by firefighters.

Morning thunderstorms knocked out power at three schools in Baltimore yesterday and forced one of them to close early.

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