The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating if weather conditions were a factor in two plane crashes yesterday afternoon, one of them fatal, shortly before lightning, hail up to 2 inches in diameter and funnel clouds swept across the Baltimore area.
A strong cold front clashed with yesterday's 90-degree heat about 5 p.m., touching off severe weather that forced the National Weather Service to issue multiple severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.
The widespread storms produced frequent lightning strikes, one of which left a 40-year-old Carroll County woman in critical condition last night. Police said she was struck about 3: 15 p.m. while standing in the front yard of her home in the 5800 block of Leslie Lane in Mount Airy.
The woman, whom police would not identify last night, suffered internal injuries and burns to her hands and feet. She was transported to Frederick Memorial Hospital.
About 5: 05 p.m., a man was killed in Carroll County when his ultralight plane crashed in a field near Keymar Airport in the 1500 block of Francis Scott Key Highway in Taneytown.
Sharon Eiler, a spokeswoman for Taneytown Volunteer Fire Department, said fire units, Maryland State Police and Carroll County sheriff's deputies were called to the airport after witnesses reported seeing the plane go down. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Eiler said the accident occurred about an hour before a thunderstorm moved across the airport.
"The sun was shining. It was just hot and muggy," Eiler said.
But the National Weather Service reported strong, upper-level winds across the area yesterday afternoon.
Strong winds are believed to have been a factor in a second plane crash yesterday afternoon in Harford County that left a Gaithersburg man critically injured, authorities said.
Lt. Steven Bodway, a spokesman for the Harford County Fire Department, said Michael William Gugulis, 50, was trying to land his single-engine Cessna about 2: 15 p.m. when he radioed that he was experiencing gusty winds.