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Historic tree toppled during severe morning storm

While Carroll County was spared a second round of storms Thursday evening, Donna Sizemore couldn't believe just how powerful Thursday morning's storm was.

An approximately 380-year-old white oak tree, standing 91 feet tall, was uprooted on her property during the storm.

Sizemore, who lives on Md. 27 just south of Westminster, was in the basement when the tree fell. She said she first heard what sounded like leaves brushing across the house, and then a thunderous roar.

"It's unimaginable that something can take down something that old, heavy and beautiful," Sizemore said. "But it did."

Sizemore said she is thankful the tree blew the way it did and not onto her home.

"If it would have fallen the other way we would have all been dead," she said.

The tree was one of about two dozen trees in Carroll that is part of the Maryland Big Tree Program, which is associated with the Department of Natural Resources Forest Service. At the time it was last measured in 2008, according to the Maryland Big Tree website, it measured 14 feet 3 inches in circumference and had a 99-foot spread of its top branches.

More than 15 county roads were temporarily closed Thursday due to storm damage, most of which had been reopened by mid-day, according to the Carroll County Office of Public Safety's Facebook page.

In New Windsor, decks were covered by hail that fell during the morning storm. The quarter-sized hail rattled windows in the region, including in Westminster and Union Bridge, while the winds whipped. Hail up to half-dollar size fell in Westminster.

Online weather reporting network WeatherBug reported a peak wind gust of 53 miles per hour at Winters Mill High School in Westminster during the storm.

Power outages across the county from the morning storm were reported by BGE and FirstEnergy, which serve Carroll County. More than 2,000 customers were without electricity after the morning storms.

There were no tornadoes reported in the county, according to the Carroll County Office of Emergency Management.

Carroll was spared from a second severe weather outbreak Thursday afternoon. Multiple tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service in Montgomery and Howard Counties during the afternoon as storms formed south of Carroll.

Just after 4 p.m., travelers at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport were directed to head to the first floor of the building as a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado moved through the area.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the airport and surrounding areas, but there were no confirmed tornadoes near BWI.

The National Weather Service did confirm that a tornado touched down near Colesville in Montgomery County Thursday afternoon.

Yet in Carroll, the afternoon was mostly uneventful, while storms raged to the south. Carroll County ceased emergency operations at 5 p.m., according to a county news release.

Keith Krichinsky, the Chief Operating Officer for online weather co-operative Foot's Forecast, said breezy conditions Thursday afternoon helped to stabilize the atmosphere, preventing huge storms from popping up in Carroll like the ones that rumbled through in the morning hours.

Union Bridge resident Pam Brown drove around her neighborhood after the storm stopped Thursday morning to look at the damage.

Brown said she saw a tree down on a house on Locust Street in Union Bridge, and another tree that fell on two vehicles on Broadway Street.

"There [were] all kinds of trees down," Brown said.

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