In an instant, hot air leaves Baltimore area Temperatures fall 11 degrees in 25 minutes.


A strong cold front blew through the Baltimore area today, dropping temperatures by 11 degrees in 25 minutes.

The cooling blast followed an intense and tightly formed storm that struck Carroll County and parts of extreme northern Baltimore County last night, causing power outages to about 14,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers, said a spokesman for the utility.

National Weather Service forecaster Ken Shaver said the downtown temperature fell from 81 degrees to 70 degrees between at 11:05 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. By 1 p.m., it was 66 degrees downtown.

The front brought wind gusts up to 31 mph at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and new reports of outages soon climbed past 2,000, said Art Slusark, a spokesman for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. That number, he said, "will only go up."

"When it rains, it pours," Slusark said.

In Hagerstown, a series of storms hit that area yesterday afternoon and through most of the evening, flooding basements, several main highways and secondary roads and stranding several people in their cars.

Moving toward the northeast, the storms largely missed the Baltimore area, where crews were still restoring service to the last 100 customers, among 40,000, who had lost power during a Tuesday storm.

Occasional rain was forecast for the area to accompany the cooler air. Chances of rain are forecast for tonight, with an overnight low of 55.

High temperatures through Monday are forecast to be only 65 degrees under sunny skies.

In the metropolitan area, Carroll County received the brunt of the last storm. Authorities said high winds last night blew down trees, sheds, barns and other structures throughout the area. More than 30 buildings were hit by lightning.

No injuries were reported.

Slusark said the storm struck Westminster and surrounding communities about 7 p.m. and blew through in less than 30 minutes.

BG&E; spokeswoman Peggy Mulloy said about half the 14,000 outages were in Carroll County, with most of the rest scattered across northern Baltimore County.

By midday, Slusark said, all but 700 customers had service restored. They were expected to be on line again this afternoon.

In an unrelated incident, a construction accident at 9:46 a.m. today severed an underground power line in the 10500 block of York Road in Cockeysville. That left 3,500 customers without power for almost three hours, Slusark said.

Michael Munshaur, night-shift supervisor at the Carroll County Emergency Operations Center in Westminster, said 34 storm-related fire calls came into the center, the result of lightning hitting buildings, trees and transformers.

Hagerstown was struck by several storms, which dropped more than 5 inches of rain on parts of Washington County over a seven-hour period, beginning about 3 p.m.

"The storms came one after another," said State Police Sgt. Greg Spickler in Hagerstown.

Hagerstown Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said his department answered 70 calls for help yesterday.

U.S. 40 through Hagerstown was closed today due to flood damage. State Police expected it to be closed for several days so State Highway Administration officials can evaluate damage to the road's foundation.

"Water backed up from the sewers and apparently washed out several sections of Route 40 in town," Spickler said.

More rain was forecast for Western Maryland today and tonight, with the high temperature of 62 and the overnight low of 45.

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