"Sometimes the aftermath of a big storm, when people think it is safe, can be the most dangerous," said Steve Zubrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "There are downed power lines, weakened trees and remnants of the system to deal with."
The weather system — a rare confluence of a northward-moving tropical front and a low-pressure trough that arrived via the Midwest — was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone when it hit the southern New Jersey coast Monday evening, as Marylanders braced for a night of winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour. Those intense southerly gusts were in part responsible for downing trees with root systems weakened by saturated soil, officials said.
The storm prompted some areas such as Ellicott City and parts of Harford County to begin voluntary evacuations Monday night. Tuesday morning, people in Ellicott City were feeling that they had dodged a bullet.
An estimated 1,200 Marylanders spent the night in 41 shelters.
Outside Maryland, Sandy caused millions of outages. New York in particular coped with heavy flooding after high tide as well as blackouts. As of late Monday night, The Red Cross had 112 shelters open on the East Coast. The Federal Emergency Management Administration had more than 1,500 staff on hand, and thousands of National Guardsmen were deployed to help affected states deal with the storm.
The storm caused its first fatality in Maryland when 66-year-old Mai Ai Lam-Phan of Montgomery County was killed in a head-on collision Monday in Clarksburg. Noting witness reports that there was standing water on the roadway, the Maryland medical examiner said the accident would not have happened were it not for the hurricane, while Montgomery police were more cautious, stating only that the storm might have been a factor.
The Pasadena man who was killed when the tree fell on his home shortly before 11 p.m., in the 7700 block of Suitt Drive, has not been identified by police.
As of 6 a.m., workers were awaiting a crane to remove an 80-foot tree that crashed into the kitchen, killing a 73-year-old man inside, said County Executive John R. Leopold.
Leopold said family members told him the man was a construction engineer.
Flooding, downed wires and fallen trees kept 27 roads closed in Anne Arundel County Tuesday morning, as county workers responded to reports of trees falling into houses. Eleven other Anne Arundel roads were partially closed from storm damage, and officials urged motorists to stay home.
Dozens of roads were closed in Baltimore County because of flooding or downed wires or trees.
In Baltimore, no sewage overflows had been reported. The Jones Falls rise feet above its banks but was receding Tuesday morning, even as rain continued to pour down.
Robert Judge, spokesman for Exelon Power, which operates the Conowingo hydroelectric dam on the lower Susquehanna, said the company does not expect to need to open floodgates to release rain-swollen waters until Tuesday. Based on weather forecasts on Monday, Judge said the dam operators expect to need to open 10 gates in total between Tuesday and Thursday, far fewer than the 43 opened after Tropical Storm Lee drenched the region in September 2011.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Jessica Anderson, Erin Cox, Andrea F. Siegel, Candus Thomson, Julie Scharper, Chris Korman and Jamie Smith Hopkins, contributed to this article. The Associated Press and Patuxent Publishing also contributed.