Cindy brings outages, flooding

Car accident in Frederick during storm kills two

Sinkhole forms near Fort Meade

July 09, 2005|By Tyrone Richardson | Tyrone Richardson,SUN STAFF

The rainy remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy gave way to blue skies over Maryland yesterday, but not before being implicated in two deaths, a smattering of power outages and several traffic mishaps - including a large sinkhole that closed a portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway yesterday.

Among several traffic accidents that occurred during the storm, state police said Chris Coffelt, 44, and Matthew Coffelt, 8, both of Round Hill, Va., were killed about 11 p.m. Thursday when the pickup truck they were riding in struck a guard rail and overturned in Frederick.

Rains from the tropical storm entered the southern part of Maryland Thursday afternoon and moved north across the state, dropping heavy rains and prompting a tornado warning in Baltimore County.

More rain than winds battered the state, said Andy Woodcock, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

The storm dumped 3.75 inches of rain on Frederick, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties also received more than 3 inches of rain, the agency said. Baltimore-Washington International Airport reported 2.14 inches, Woodcock said. The storm also produced wind gusts that peaked at about 20 mph, Woodcock said.

About 11 a.m. yesterday, heavy rains created a 16-foot-wide, 6-foot deep sinkhole in the northbound lanes of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, north of Route 32 near Fort Meade. Traffic was diverted and police reported no injuries.

Another accident yesterday closed the southbound lanes of Interstate 270 at Route 80, about 6 miles south of Frederick, when a box truck overturned, police said.

The blustery weather prompted officials to post wind warnings for the Bay and Key bridges yesterday morning.

In Carroll County, "there were a couple of trees down, a couple little road closures, but nothing real serious," said state police Sgt. David A. Warner.

Similar reports echoed throughout the state yesterday as county emergency officials reported minor incidents of snapped tree limbs and road closures because of standing water.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said that 23,000 customers lost service at some point during the storm. Storm-related outages began about 4:30 a.m. yesterday and peaked at noon with about 8,000 customers affected, said spokeswoman Linda Foy. Baltimore County was the worst-affected area, she said.

By yesterday afternoon, the floodwaters swelled area waterways, such as Gunpowder Falls. A 19-year-old girl who had been tubing with friends became trapped on a rock in Gunpowder Falls State Park.

Surrounded by swift currents and rising water, she called out for help, authorities said. A swift-water rescue team was dispatched by the Baltimore County Fire Department about 5 p.m.

At first, authorities tried unsuccessfully to rescue the girl by helicopter. Then, as the water continued rising, two rescue workers swam out to the rock with a life preserver attached to a rope, and others on land pulled her, unharmed, to safety.

One of her rescuers, who had carried equipment to the scene, was treated by medics for symptoms of heat exhaustion.

In Baltimore County during the storm, the 911 call volume was less than during most storms, said Battalion Chief Michael Robinson. There were no major problems reported during the heavy period of rain.

Sun staff writers Larry Carson, Sheridan Lyons, William Wan, Laura Barnhardt and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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