Sandy brings down trees, knocks out traffic lights

At least four  trees have fallen and hit houses in Laurel as Super Storm Sandy continues to bring pelting rain and high winds to Maryland Monday night.

Laurel city spokesman Pete Piringer said a tall evergreen fell on a home off Montgomery Street, in the 300 block of 11th Street, but did not penetrate the house.

Around 6 p.m., a tree fell on the roof of a home in the 7800 block of Contee Road, displacing a family who is now staying with relatives, Piringer said.

Prince George Street resident the Rev. Sheila McJilton wrote in an email to an Old Town neighborhood group that a tall pine fell in her neighbor’s yard, hitting the home’s front porch and taking out phone lines. McJilton said responding emergency workers cut away that part of the tree blocking the entrance to the house.

In Howard County, a Laurel family of five was displaced after a large tree fell on their home in the 10900 block of Hammond Road around 8:30 p.m. Monday, a county fire and rescue service spokesman said.

There were no injuries, but he house was damaged heavily and the family is staying in a hotel overnight, the spokesman said.

While city officials keep an eye on the Patuxent River as it reaches the riverbank, high water has already closed Contee Road near Laurel Regional Hospital, an area that frequently floods during period of high rain, such as Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Main Street is seeing problems at both ends. Laurel Police barricaded the intersection of Seventh and Main streets after a tree split in half, and Piringer said the tree will likely fall down overnight, taking out a traffic light in the process. At the east end of Main Street, the traffic light at Route 1 south was not functioning and a stop sign was placed at the intersection.

Other Laurel roads that were closed by Prince George's County officials because of flooding include Brock Bridge Road; Route 198 at Old Gunpower Road; and Route 1 at Muirkirk Road.

At 9:45 p.m., BGE reported 180,000 customers without power, many of those around Columbia and Laurel. At midnight, 5,423 BGE customers in Prince George's County were without power.

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