As Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. crews worked around the clock to restore power after more than 400,000 customers suffered outages as a result of high sustained winds, officials said efforts could continue into next week.
“As new outages occur, customers should prepare for a restoration effort that will extend throughout the weekend and possibly into early next week. BGE increased staffing and mobilized crews in advance of the storm,” the utility company said in a statement Saturday.
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 as of Saturday afternoon.
More than 240,000 power outages were reported across the state Saturday morning. About 150,000 remained without power Saturday evening. Harford County was hit hardest, with almost 18 percent of customers out, according to state data.
The Maryland Transportation Authority said all state bridges were reopened Saturday afternoon, but the Tydings Bridge limited traffic to cars, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor-trailers. The Key, Bay and Hatem bridges were under wind warnings, meaning drivers of house trailers, box trailers, motorcycles and vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo were urged to use caution when crossing.
CSX and public safety officials worked Saturday to remove four train cars that fell into the Susquehanna River Friday night on a bridge over the water between Cecil and Harford counties. Two more cars remained overturned atop the bridge on Saturday. CSX officials said the train cars were empty and posed no threat to the environment, but could not say whether the wind caused the derailment. No injuries were reported.
Power outages and downed power lines and trees caused Amtrak to suspend service between Washington and New York Saturday morning. Officials warned delays could continue.
“Significant residual delays should be expected as work continues to restore full service,” Amtrak said. Officials said they were working to process refunds to customers whose trains were canceled.
BGE said crews from outside the state would arrive beginning Saturday afternoon to help restore power. They said efforts could be delayed by continued sustained winds.
Crews had restored service to nearly 250,000 customers in the Baltimore area by Saturday afternoon and the number of outages was decreasing, but tens of thousands were still without power Saturday.
The most outages Saturday morning were reported in Baltimore County, where 41,000 customers were without power. Baltimore had 14,000 outages. Anne Arundel County had 24,000, Harford County had 23,000, Howard County had 18,000 and Carroll County had 3,000.
BGE encouraged customers with outages and downed wires to call 877-778-2222.
While wind damage, blocked roads and power outages hampered many weekend plans, a convention for Christian women held at the Radisson Hotel in Timonium went on as scheduled, even though the hotel lost power.
Women from as far as Ohio, Massachusetts and South Carolina attended the two-day Ladies of Virtue conference, which was planned months in advance, organizer Davis Worley said.
“Without lighting, we are in some dark areas, so we are unable to use certain rooms,” said Worley, who lives in Edgewood. But he said the hotel has “accommodated us well,” allowing organizers and participants to hold retreat lectures and other activities in the hotel’s front entrance.
“We’re just making do,” he said. “This is nothing we could control, the hotel could control. This is an act of God.”
Winds were expected to subside Sunday, with gusts not expected to top 30 mph. The forecast called for sunny skies with a high approaching 50. Sunday night’s low should be around 30 degrees. Monday’s forecast calls for temperatures reaching the mid-40s, and winds no more than 15 mph, according to the National Weather Service.