Superstorm Sandy mostly spares Maryland as it moves up coast

October 30, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

UPDATES:

• Baltimore County Police are monitoring the bridge carrying Belair Road over the Gunpowder River, north of Perry Hall and south of Kingsville, as the bridge's culverts have been jammed with large amounts of debris. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has also been alerted.

•There will be full service on all MARC train lines on Wednesday, though delays may occur due to signal problems and flood-related speed restrictions, the Maryland Transit Administration said.

• Two Howard County women sent to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for carbon monoxide poisoning related to the use of a gas-powered generator had been released from the hospital as of Tuesday evening. A man who was also poisoned remained hospitalized.

• Power has been restored to Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant in Howard County. The county's water supply is safe to drink, officials said.

• Baltimore's driving restriction was lifted at noon. Parking restrictions in Fells point have been lifted except for streets closed due to flooding.

• Baltimore city government will open Wednesday, operating on normal schedules.

• The Charm City Circulator will resume service Wednesday.

• Early voting will resume Wednesday with extended hours, according to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

• The Maryland Transit Administration plans to resume limited service after finding little damage on its rail lines. Baltimore's subway resumed operating at noon on Tuesday, along with limited local bus service and mobility paratransit service for disabled riders.

• Most Amtrak service remains suspended Tuesday. Amtrak officials will decided late Tuesday whether service will be restored on Wednesday north and south of New York.

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Central Maryland appears to have been spared the worst of Sandy's fury, which was delivered farther up the Atlantic Coast.

One man was killed after a tree fell on his home in Pasadena. A second was killed in a head-on collision in Clarksburg that officials said was connected to flooding.

No other deaths had been reported in the Greater Baltimore region early Tuesday, though three people in Howard County were hospitalized following carbon monoxide poisoning related to the use of a gas-powered generator.

"We were very, very fortunate to be on the kinder end of this very violent storm," Gov. Martin O'Malley said Tuesday from Maryland Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Reisterstown. "But that does not take anything away from the Herculean efforts of cooperation and collaboration that I see all throughout the state."

"We were prepared for the worst," the governor said. "We were spared having to endure the worst."

O'Malley described Maryland's Sandy-related deaths as a "tragic loss of life," but noted they were "far fewer than what our neighbors had to endure."

Sandy — downgraded from hurricane status just before it made landfall — reached Atlantic City, N.J. at about 8 p.m. Monday. The storm left that state and the New York metropolitan area the most scarred.

Five were reported dead because of the storm in New York and three in New Jersey. Pennsylvania also reported three deaths and two have been recorded so far in Connecticut.

The hurricane's back end continued to hover over the East Coast Tuesday, dropping more rain onto ground already saturated by the five to eight inches of rain that has fallen in the past 48 hours. The storm pushed into the Midwest and New England, blanketing Michigan and Vermont with wind warnings. Much of Maine was under a flood watch.

"We all dodged a bullet on this one," Anne Arundel County Fire Battalion Chief Steve Thompson said Tuesday from the county's emergency operations center. "If that storm would have wiggled a little bit south, with those winds, it would have been a doozie."

A flood warning remains effect until Tuesday afternoon for nearly all of Maryland. As the rains continued to fall, creeks and streams were expected to begin rising, according to Kevin Witt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Flooding in major rivers will peak on Wednesday, he added, with the Potomac expected to crest at 30 feet — nearly twice its normal level. Witt also said severe rains and winds would last through Tuesday but would likely taper toward normal by late morning Wednesday. Wind advisories were still in effect Tuesday morning for much of the state as well.

A blizzard warning is active until early this evening for all of Garrett County and half of Allegany County, as far east as Cumberland. Total snow accumulations in higher elevations may be has great as two feet, according to the National Weather Service. Four-to-eight inches are expected today.

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