Northeaster bears down on Maryland Thousands lack power, heat in wake of weekend storm; 'You just lost your car'; Flooding is predicted amid repairs, cleanup of previous damage


As Marylanders cleaned up from the intense weekend storm that blew down huge trees, shattered windows and knocked out power to a fifth of Baltimore Gas and Electric's customers, another storm appeared headed this way.

With thousands of homes still lacking heat and lights yesterday in the wake of the season's first wintry storm, the National Weather Service warned that rain, gusty winds and coastal erosion and flooding were likely tomorrow in autumn's first northeaster.

"It looks like there's another strong storm brewing out west," said Calvin Meadows, a forecaster in the weather service's Washington regional office.

But the new storm is unlikely to bring snow east of Maryland's mountains, he said, and the winds will be a little less fierce than Saturday night's near-hurricane gusts, which were punctuated by thunder and lightning.

About 212,000 homes were without power in Central Maryland at the height of the storm about 8 p.m. Saturday.

The storm was triggered by a cold front moving across the region that caused temperatures to drop from a balmy 63 degrees to freezing in half an hour, while winds gusting to 70 mph uprooted trees and hurled huge branches onto houses and cars.

Joanne Calvert was sitting in a back room of her house about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, trying to hear the television over the roar of the wind, when her husband, Davis, summoned her.

"You just lost your car," he said.

Beneath a century-old Norway spruce they could just make out the crumpled form of Mrs. Calvert's 1985 silver-gray Chevrolet Cavalier, parked in front of their house on Pinehurst Road, west of York Road just north of Baltimore.

"Everybody up and down the street came out and gawked," she said.

By yesterday evening, 36,000 homes -- mostly in Annapolis, southern Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County and the city -- remained without power, according to a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman who said it could be 5 p.m. today before all service is restored.

BGE opened three dry-ice distribution centers in areas near the heaviest outages: in Towson, the Ruhl Armory at York and West roads; in Westminster at the Cranberry Shopping Center; and at Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie.

"We are trying bit by bit to get everyone restored by the end of [Monday]," said Nancy Caplan, a BGE spokeswoman. "This is a long time to be out. But the winds came through and ripped up poles, transformers blew and trees fell on lines."

In Ocean City, wind gusts up to 72 mph damaged homes and knocked down 10 power poles along Coastal Highway between 60th and 75th streets, and flooding closed other sections of the road.

"We were very fortunate that there were only minor injuries associated with this storm," said Clay Stamp, the resort's emergency management director.

At the height of the storm, about 20,000 homes and businesses on the Eastern Shore area had no electricity. At Crisfield Point on the bay in Somerset County, weather forecasters reported wind gusts reaching 93 mph.

Amet Figueroa, at the weather service's Baltimore-Washington International Airport office, said the greatest amount of snow in the metropolitan area fell in Westminster -- 2 1/2 inches.

The advance guard of the new storm is due in the Baltimore area by late this afternoon, in the form of light rain.

Rain and winds "should really get wound up" by tomorrow, according to Mr. Meadows in the Washington weather office.

But winds of up to 35 to 40 knots from the northeast are expected tomorrow to push tides 2 feet higher than normal, pounding away at Ocean City's beach and causing at least minor flooding along the western shore of Chesapeake Bay.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad