Freezing rain knocks out power for about 45,000 in Baltimore County

Icy rain coated the Baltimore region with a thin glaze Wednesday morning, toppling trees, slickening roads and knocking out power for about 151,000 customers statewide, 45,000 of whom were in Baltimore County.

Ice accumulations ranged from about a quarter-inch throughout much of the region to a half-inch in Manchester, according to the National Weather Service. A winter storm warning remained in effect through 1 p.m. in Carroll, northern Baltimore and Harford counties, with a freezing rain advisory in Howard County through noon. Freezing rain advisories to the south and east of those areas were canceled.

"The ice has caused many trees to fall throughout the metro area this morning, taking power lines with them," said Jessica Puchala, a Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman. "Utility and state highway crews are responding to this dangerous situation. Please do not approach downed power lines."

More than 1,800 State Highway Administration trucks were out salting roads overnight and through the morning, officials said.

Radar images showed only light, isolated precipitation around the region by about noon, with temperatures continuing to hover around freezing in the lower to mid-30s. Temperatures were expected to reach the lower 40s by the afternoon, falling back to the upper 20s and lower 30s overnight, posing a risk of re-freezing.

Power outages continued to climb throughout the morning, with about 92,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers in the region without power at 11:30 a.m. Power had been restored to nearly 21,500 customers.

Statewide, about 151,000 customers were estimated to be without power at 11:30 a.m., according to state emergency management officials.

Most BGE outages were concentrated in Baltimore County, where about 45,000 customers remained without power, and in Carroll County, where about 24,000 customers remained without power. About 15,500 customers were without power in Harford County.

There were numerous reports of downed trees across the region, with many blocking roads.

State and local officials urged drivers to be extremely cautious on the roads, which may appear to be safer than they are.

Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County schools were on a two-hour delayed opening. Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County schools were closed.

Liberal leave was in effect for state of Maryland employees through noon.

Winter storm warnings were in effect through 1 p.m. in Harford, northern Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties. Freezing rain advisories were in effect in southern Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.

Dozens of flights out of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport were canceled or delayed Wednesday morning, with dozens more incoming flights cancelled.

Several counties, including Baltimore County, were under snow emergency plans through the afternoon or evening, meaning people cannot park in designated snow emergency zones.

Wednesday afternoon, skies were expected to remain mostly cloudy with gusty winds kicking up by the evening hours. Temperatures were expected to drop to the mid-20s, with wind chills in the lower 20s.

Partly cloudy skies with highs in the mid-30s and lows around 20 degrees were forecast Thursday. Mostly cloudy skies, highs in the upper 30s and lows in the lower 20s were forecast Friday.

Saturday could reach the upper 30s before a chance of snow arrives overnight into Sunday, with a wintry mix forecast to end the weekend.

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