Storms cut power, halt MARC trains

July 11, 2000|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Severe thunderstorms that brought damaging winds and heavy rain knocked out electricity to at least 24,000 customers in Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince George's and Montgomery counties yesterday evening.

The storms also forced road closings in Howard because of downed power lines, disrupted phone service and derailed service on MARC train's Camden line between Baltimore and Washington, authorities said.

"Right now, it looks like it's straight-line wind damage and probably not a tornado," said Dewey Walston, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. "But without actually going out and looking at the damage ourselves, we can't say for sure one way or another."

MARC service was disrupted after at least one tree fell across the tracks near Savage. This morning's service "will hinge on whether we can get the trees removed," said Larry Jones, a spokesman for the state Mass Transit Administration. If crews clear the tracks, the Camden line will run as scheduled with the exception of cancellations of the 8:42 a.m. and 8:43 a.m. departures from Camden Station.

If the trees are not removed, morning service will be cancelled and commuters will be directed to use the Penn line, Jones said.

Commuters can check updated schedules at 1-800-325-RAIL as early as 5 a.m. today.

By 10 p.m., about 21,400 customers remained without power, said Rose Maria Kendig, a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman. That number included 9,900 in Howard, 9,800 in Anne Arundel, 1,600 in Prince George's and 132 in Montgomery.

About 1,900 Potomac Electric Power Co. customers still were without power about 8 p.m. in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Washington.

Kendig said BGE crews were working through the night and that service should be restored to all customers by this morning.

She said the worst damage occurred in Laurel.

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