High winds buffet cars, cut power

Woke up Monday and again Tuesday to the sound of wind roaring through the trees. And when I went to the drive-up ATM machine this morning, the wind caught the receipt as it emerged from the machine, and before I could grab it, the thing soared high into the swirl of leaves and trash around me and out of sight. The cash, happily, stayed put.

The cause is a "tight pressure gradient" - close proximity between a deep low-pressure center in the Canadian Maritime Provinces and a high in the Midwest. That is funneling a gusher of Canadian air into the Northeast, and we get stiff winds. And it's cold. Temperatures were dropping all night after the passage of a cold front, and seem to be struggling to reach the freezing mark at mid-day Tuesday. The wind chills are in the low 20s. Look for a low near 20 degrees tonight.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for Central Maryland through 6 p.m. Tuesday, warning of sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph, gusting to 45 or 50 mph. Such winds can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles. Gale Warnings are in effect for the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay, and the tidal Potomac River.

Here are some peak wind gusts around the region. Some have reached 50 mph.

Winds down at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have been steady at more than 20 mph this morning, and gusting to 38 mph. BGE is reporting more than 13,000 customers have lost power since the windstorm began. More than 8,000 of those have already been restored.

Instruments at the Thomas Point Light are recording winds of 29 knots, gusting to 36, with falling temperatures.

(SUN PHOTO/Amy Davis/January 2000)

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