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Man killed by fallen tree in storm is identified; some Carroll County roads remain closed, BGE responding to outages

Police identified the 89-year-old man killed by a fallen tree during Monday’s storm as Finksburg resident Harry Swan.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and emergency medical services had responded to a property in the 2900 block of Bloom Road in Finksburg at about 6:24 p.m. Monday for a tree falling on a person, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. Swan was found trapped under a tree in his driveway, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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“Due to no one observing the incident, the victim was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore for further investigation. No further information is available at this time,” a Tuesday morning news release from the Sheriff’s Office stated.

Police believe Swan was standing in his driveway when winds from the storm blew the tree down and onto him, according to Monday’s release.

Roads had been closed and hundreds of Carroll County residents were without electricity Tuesday morning, in the aftermath of Monday’s storm system. Four roads were closed Tuesday morning in Carroll County, according to Bureau Chief of Roads Operations Jim Cook.

“Most of them have trees involved with wires,” Cook said.

The number was reduced to two later Tuesday.

Hughes Road in Finksburg reopened at about 12:30 p.m. and Arrington Road in Eldersburg reopened at 1:15 p.m., according to Roads Operations. Because of downed wires, Slasman Road in Finksburg and Silver Run Valley Road in Westminster remained closed Tuesday afternoon, awaiting repairs from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. crews.

BGE spokesperson Richard Yost said that about 5,000 out of 59,000 customers in Carroll lost power Monday. About 175 customers in Carroll were without power as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to BGE’s live outage map.

“We have crews that have been working through the night," Yost said.

As of Tuesday morning, 100 employees were deployed to tackle “vegetation management” specifically, according to Yost. Trees and branches have to be removed before wires can be repaired, he said.

Customers reported about 28,000 power outages Monday across BGE’s entire service area of 1.3 million electric customers, according to Yost.

“We actually pulled in extra resources to augment our fully staffed crew," Yost said. “The weather system that came through was severe, so there were pockets of damage."

The National Weather Service on Monday issued tornado warnings for parts of Carroll County, and is currently debating whether to send someone to investigate if a tornado touched down in Carroll, said Jim Lee, meteorologist-in-charge. The office is based in Sterling, Virginia.

Lee said Tuesday afternoon said the National Weather Service is communicating with Carroll County Emergency Management to determine where the most concentrated damage lies. Looking at the radar, Lee said, it appears the most likely place for “tornadic activity” appeared to have been near Green Valley in Frederick County.

Meteorologist Kyle Pallozzi said Tuesday morning that it wasn’t clear whether a tornado hit Carroll.

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“It was definitely an exceptional event,” Pallozzi said. “There’s quite a bit of damage up there.”

Pallozzi heard of wires and trees down across the county, and in some places, trees and poles snapped in half, he said.

If trees fall in the same direction it is a sign of straight winds, but if trees fall and cross one another that indicates a tornado passed through, according to Pallozzi.

While there was no specific wind data immediately available for Carroll, gusts of wind in Frederick County reached up to 60 mph Monday, and “on radar it looked stronger in Carroll County,” Pallozzi said.

Most of the county received at least an inch of rain, Pallozzi said, but the northern area received the most precipitation.

Two to three inches fell just north of Westminster, with the heaviest rain falling at the Mason-Dixon line, according to Pallozzi.

Cook had cautioned motorists traveling Tuesday to watch out for loose branches hanging from trees that could fall onto the road with a gust of wind.

“Be aware of any debris that is on the road because there still is a lot of debris we might not know about," Cook said.

Citizens may report fallen wires and trees to Roads Operations by calling 410-386-6717.

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