The Baltimore Sun

Howard man hurt in storm; 2 funnel clouds are reported

M A strong and fast-moving storm system produced lightning yesterday that injured a Howard County man and two reported funnel clouds that did minor damage to separate parts of the county.

Light rain and ominous clouds from the thunderstorm led officials to temporarily evacuate the National Mall in Washington before the annual fireworks extravaganza.

In the Ellicott City area, a man in his mid-40s suffered minor burns when an electric surge moved through his laptop computer after lightning struck his home, said Bill Mould, spokesman for the Howard County Fire Department.

Emergency personnel were called about 5:15 p.m. to the home in the 3800 block of Walt Mill Court, but the man - whose name was not released - was not taken to the hospital, Mould said.

Fire officials said they had received two reports about funnel clouds in the county, one in West Friendship that knocked down several trees and another east of Columbia.

A spokesman for the National Weather Service could not confirm that a tornado had touched down anywhere in Maryland or the District of Columbia.

But meteorologist Brian LaSorsa said the weather service had received "a couple reports" of sightings of a funnel cloud south of Damascus in Montgomery County.

Bradley Olson and Jennifer Skalka


: Maryland Zoo

Bat tests positive for rabies virus

State health officials confirmed that a wild bat found this week at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore carried rabies, zoo officials announced yesterday.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Laboratories Administration confirmed that the baby bat had tested positive for rabies virus. The bat is not a part of the zoo's collection.

Officials are asking anyone who visited the zoo at Druid Hill Park on Monday and may have come in contact with the bat to call a local public health department or health care provider to determine whether treatment is needed.

Grant Healey, a zoo spokesman, said the bat was found on a walking path near the chimpanzee exhibit.

In a news release issued yesterday, Karl Kranz, the zoo's vice president for animal programs and its chief operating officer, said, "We are concerned about the health and safety of our guests, so that is why we want to get the word out in case anyone touched or came in contact with the bat.

"This is also a good reminder that people should be very careful when encountering any type of wild animal, particularly one that appears sick or dead," Kranz said.

The zoo's collection includes more than 1,500 birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, representing nearly 200 species.

Jacques Kelly

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