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Some Marylanders are still without power: 'It’s like camping'

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. has restored power to most households in the Baltimore area, with about 42,000 still remaining in the dark Sunday evening after a wind storm sent trees toppling into utility lines Friday and Saturday.

The utility company said it expected most people to have power by Monday, with the exception of some more heavily damaged areas. Repairs in those areas could run into the middle of the week.

The most outages were in Baltimore County, where more than 17,530 people still did not have power. As of 7 p.m. Sunday, outages totaled 8,427 in Harford County, 4,419 in Howard County, 5,011 in Baltimore city, 6,119 in Anne Arundel County and 1,326 in Carroll County.

In the wooded Ruxton neighborhood in Towson, a tangle of power lines lay in the road as generators whirred from people’s lawns.

“The power’s been off now since Friday,” said Wendy Quitasol, standing on the front porch of her home. “It’s like camping. We have the fireplace going.”

Though she doesn’t have a generator and misses having hot water, Quitasol, 55, said she was mostly worried about the electric wires that had fallen down nearby during the storm. A tree had fallen on the power line — simultaneously cutting off electricity and blocking off access to the main road. To get around the fallen tree, Quitasol and her neighbors had to walk on foot, being careful to dodge the live wires on the ground, making for a treacherous commute.

"My biggest concern was those wires,” she said.

Crews are working around the clock to restore power, and BGE has brought in workers from ComEd, its sister utility in Illinois, to help. Workers from other utility companies are also expected to arrive Sunday.

The National Weather Service warned that the strong, gusty winds Friday and Saturday created dangerous conditions, including loosened trees, branches and other debris. A 76-year-old Baltimore County woman was struck and killed Friday by a falling tree, but no other deaths were reported.

The Baltimore Office of Emergency Management is advising people to stay inside as the cleanup of debris and trees continues.

In Towson, Quitasol said BGE had promised to restore power to her home by later Sunday evening. But she doubted whether she would be able to turn her lights on.

“I don’t believe it, because BGE they have not been here at all,” she said. “I don’t think they realize how much they have to do.”

At the foot of her driveway, an enormous pine tree had fallen over and was leaning against another tree. It looked precariously close to falling on top of her home, but so far had held, said Quitasol.

“Somebody’s looking out for me,” she said.

Wind warnings were reinstated on all state bridges Sunday morning, according to the Maryland Transit Authority, meaning drivers of house trailers, box trailers, motorcycles and vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo are urged to use caution when crossing. The warnings were lifted for the Bay and Nice bridges at about noon.

The railroad is working with federal, state and local public safety officials to remove rail cars from the Susquehanna River after a CSX train derailed on a bridge over the river on Friday night. Two cars had been removed by Saturday afternoon, but crews were working to get the other two out of the river as of noon Sunday, according to a CSX statement.

According to the Sunday statement from CSX, those two cars had been moved and the tracks were repaired “so that train service can be restored.”

On Monday, the weather is forecast to be sunny and a high of 45 degrees, with wind gusts as high as 22 mph. Harford County Public Schools announced that Havre de Grace Elementary School will be closed Monday due to continuing power failure.

The storm left 400,000 people without power, according to BGE. The company encouraged customers with outages and downed wires to call 877-778-2222.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.

amcdaniels@baltsun.com

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