Storms cut power to more than 20,000; briefly close Bay Bridge

Heavy weather wracked New York City, New England early Saturday

September 09, 2012|The Baltimore Sun

Thunderstorms moving across Maryland on Saturday afternoon cut power to more than 20,000 Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. customers and prompted closures on the Bay Bridge.

Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties, where the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings during the late afternoon, suffered the most outages.

BGE spokesman Rob Gould said the southern part of the company's coverage area "clearly took the brunt of it."

Gould said high winds seemed to be the chief culprit. He said it was also too early to give an exact timeline for power restorations but added, "It's safe to say some outages will continue into tomorrow."

Late in the afternoon, Route 50 was closed over the Bay Bridge, according to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. Closures and backups were resolved as of 6:30 p.m.

BGE's website listed about 14,900 outages shortly after 9 p.m., including about 8,300 in Prince George's County; 5,300 in Anne Arundel County; 1,000 in Baltimore County; 100 in Baltimore City and 37 in Howard County. The company reported that it had already restored power to about 13,000 customers.

Gould said BGE brought in extra crews in anticipation of the storm. "We were thinking we might be looking at something in the order of 50,000 to 75,000 outages," Gould said. "So in that sense, we were fortunate."

In Prince George's County, several people were hurt as a crowd of hundreds tried to evacuate an outdoor area at the county fair through a single gate, according to county fire department spokesman Mark E. Brady. Four people were taken to the hospital, he said. Three suffered bruises or strains and one had an asthma attack. Eight others were treated at the scene.

Reached late Saturday, the Anne Arundel County and Annapolis police departments said they had received no reports of significant damage. Baltimore County police said they received one report of a limb that fell on power lines on Cedar Lane in Dundalk but had heard no other indications of significant storm damage.

Tornadoes reportedly touched down Saturday in Fairfax County, Va., and in New York City.

No injuries were immediately recorded in a tornado that hit the Reston-Herdon area about 4:30 p.m. Washington-area power outages peaked affected about 188,000 customers.

According to Reuters, twisters hit Brooklyn and Queens, "pulling down power lines, throwing around cars and damaging property." The storm delayed the women's championship game of the U.S. Open until Sunday.

Baltimore Sun reporters Andy Rosen, Yvonne Wenger and Childs Walker, The Aegis and The Washington Post contributed to this article.

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