Region wringing out after record downpour



After two days of torrential downpours that soaked the Baltimore area and broke a record for rainfall, the region began drying out yesterday as floodwaters receded, power was restored to homes, and crews wrapped up cleanup efforts.

The slow-moving storm, which dumped nearly 7 inches of rain on Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport over two days, knocked out power for about 15,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers. As of 5 p.m. yesterday, power had been restored to all but about 1,100 homes.

The effects of the storm lingered most in Baltimore County, home to most of those still without power.

Strained sewers there also overflowed Saturday. More than 10,000 gallons of sewage was spilled at the Stemmers Run and White Marsh pumping stations; at Lord Baltimore Drive near Dogwood Road, Woodlawn; and at Herring Run near Windsor Road, Parkville.

County public works officials were advising residents to avoid contact with waterways because of possible contamination. Neighboring counties did not report similar problems.

The weekend rainfall snapped a nearly six-week dry spell for the region. The previous two-day record for rainfall was 5.3 inches, set in 1922, according to the National Weather Service.

Floodwaters, which had shut down several major roads surrounding the Jones Falls Expressway, had receded by yesterday, officials said. Conditions in low-lying areas of Harford County, where officials called for voluntary evacuations, also had improved.

Emergency 911 service was restored in Harford after being knocked out for two hours Saturday, an on-duty commander said. Calls were routed through Cecil County from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and technicians were looking yesterday into the cause of the problem.

In Southern Maryland, erosion from rain broke a drainage pipe beneath Schultz Road in Clinton, causing a sinkhole expected to leave the road closed for up to a week.

And in Carroll County, officials were investigating whether rain played a role in an eight-car pileup Saturday that resulted in the death of Dreu Timothy Bowman, 52, of Westminster. A box truck plowed into the back of the man's stopped sport utility vehicle on Route 97 at Magna Way in Westminster; six other vehicles were damaged.

The truck driver, Rene Alfonso Huezo, 20, of Memphis, Tenn., has been charged with negligent driving and speeding, authorities said.

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