Wind leaves 72,000 customers powerless

Schedules disrupted at several area schools

October 16, 2003|By Linda Linley | Linda Linley,SUN STAFF

Winds gusting to 45 mph played havoc with power lines throughout Maryland yesterday, causing more than 72,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers to lose power and a number of schools in the Baltimore area to close early.

By 9:15 last night, about 7,600 were still without power, most of them in Baltimore and Harford counties, said Clay Perry, a spokesman for BGE. He said crews were making progress and he expected the number of outages to go down significantly overnight.

"This was a nuisance kind of storm where the wind caused tree branches to take down some lines," he said. "When we'd get them fixed, a few more would go down. With all of the trees that were damaged during Isabel, it didn't take much to bring them down."

He said the highest number of customers without power at one time was 27,000.

As of 9:15 p.m., 2,559 remained without power in Harford, 2,388 in Baltimore County, 1,055 in Carroll, 345 in Howard, 328 in Anne Arundel, and 247 in the city, Perry said.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory after a cold front moved through the area Tuesday night, generating heavy rain that saturated the ground and was followed by high winds. Sustained winds of 37 mph and gusts of 45 mph were recorded at Baltimore-Washington International Airport yesterday.

The wind advisory was canceled last night.

Problems at a substation in Essex knocked out power to the Essex and Middle River areas for more than an hour yesterday morning.

Seven Howard County schools, the county's Department of Education building in Ellicott City and a research lab owned by the school system lost power.

Assistant Superintendent Roger Plunkett said a tree on a road near Glenelg High School blocked buses from leaving. County police were called to help clear the road. The school had closed 30 minutes early because it lost water.

In Harford County, four elementary schools lost power, but school officials decided to keep pupils in class. However, kindergarten class at Prospect Mill Elementary School was canceled.

Two Baltimore County schools, Maiden Choice Elementary in Arbutus and Fifth District Elementary in Upperco, closed early after losing power.

State police in Westminster reported that several downed power lines caused brief road closures.

Sun staff writers Tricia Bishop, Athima Chansanchai and Hanah Cho contributed to this article.

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