Overnight storm floods area roads and streams

Interruptions seen in car, train travel

May 10, 2008|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Sun reporter

An overnight storm flooded roads and streams south of Baltimore yesterday morning, snarled rush hour traffic, interrupted MARC train service to Washington and triggered a brief tornado scare in Prince George's County.

Cheron Wicker, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transit Administration, said flooding along the Camden and Brunswick MARC lines forced trains to operate at reduced speeds early yesterday morning.

High water on the Amtrak tracks forced Penn Line MARC trains to stop at the New Carrollton station, and passengers had to transfer to the Washington METRO system to finish their commute into Washington.

The Penn Line south of New Carrollton was reopened at 7:34 a.m., the MTA reported, but flash flood warnings from the National Weather Service forced slowdowns on all MARC lines for several hours until the tracks could be inspected.

Delays ranged from 15 to 30 minutes.

There were no weather-related delays on the Baltimore light rail system, Wicker said.

Although some Virginia counties reported damage to homes from high winds, damage in Maryland apparently was not sufficient to trigger an inspection by a National Weather Service tornado survey team.

"After talking with emergency management, [officials in Maryland concluded] they didn't have anything more than some thunderstorm wind gusts," said Chris Strong, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Sterling, Va., forecast office.

Strong was in the field yesterday in Virginia's Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, surveying wind damage in and near Fredericksburg.

He said he had seen evidence of 80- to 100-mph winds from overnight thunderstorms, but no tornado damage. The wind damaged a warehouse in Fredericksburg and knocked down an old tobacco barn and some "pretty substantial trees."

The storms were part of a powerful system out of the Mississippi Valley that dropped 1 to 3 inches of rain across parts of Central Maryland and Virginia. The storms moved off to the northeast yesterday, but lingering showers were expected to continue today, with more rain due from a new system tomorrow, forecasters said. The heavy rain caused street flooding in parts of Maryland, and many streams in the Interstate 95 corridor were running at record high rates for the date.

At the Sterling forecast office, meteorologist Steve Rogowski said the first tornado warning for Maryland was issued at 11:33 p.m. Thursday, then extended to 12:15 a.m. for portions of northern Charles and southwest Prince George's counties.

Wind damage reports in Maryland included roof and trailer damage southeast of Arnold, in Anne Arundel County.

frank.roylance@baltsun.com

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