Winds cut power to 20,000 across Md.

State offices, a few schools affected by BGE outages

November 06, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Strong winds knocked out power early yesterday to about 20,000 customers across Maryland, including more than 10,000 households in portions of Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties. However, service had largely been restored by early evening.

The power outage affected several state government agencies, closed a handful of Anne Arundel schools and disrupted businesses in Annapolis.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. reported on its Web site that only three Anne Arundel customers were still without power at 8 p.m., while 52 were without service in neighboring Prince George's County.

At the State House, employees worked without computers or artificial light until service was restored about 9:30 a.m., said Shareese N. DeLeaver, a spokeswoman for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

"Fortunately, we have hand-held devices so we were able to access the governor's schedule," DeLeaver said yesterday afternoon.

The outage didn't cause any significant problems for busy staffers, DeLeaver said, adding that it served almost as a welcome reprieve. "I did shed a little tear when [the power] came back on, especially because it's Friday," she joked.

Other state government buildings affected by the outage included the House and Senate office buildings, the Treasury Building, the State Archives Building, the Tawes office complex, the Department of Budget and Management headquarters, and the Robert F. Sweeney District Court building.

A few blocks away, those working in the bustling cafes and coffeehouses of West Street didn't take the outages with such grace.

"It was a mess," said Sarah Cahalan, owner of the 49 West cafe. "Our regulars were expecting their [usual] cup of coffee, and we couldn't give it to them." Cahalan was unable to brew coffee for nearly two hours.

A number of Anne Arundel County schools were forced to close before 10 a.m. Broadneck High School, Cape St. Claire Elementary and Windsor Farms Elementary schools closed between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

West Annapolis Elementary School remained open despite losing power because of a pole fire, said Walter George, the school system's supervisor of operations.

By 10:30 a.m., George said, power had been restored to two other schools - Southern High in Edgewater and Jones Elementary in Severna Park. Only one school, J. Albert Adams Academy, was without service by the end of the day, George said.

National Weather Service forecaster Howard Silverman said a local observation site recorded gusts of 30 mph yesterday morning.

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