Severe storms sweep through Maryland, causing downed trees and power outages. (WJZ)
Severe storms brought wind gusts upwards of 60 mph Wednesday afternoon, downing trees and power lines, tearing off siding and shingles and breaking windows.
A person was injured when a gust tore a satellite dish and part of the roof from a building on the Social Security campus in Woodlawn, agency spokesman Mark Hinkle said. A 50-by-100-foot section of the roof was stripped off, exposing heating and cooling equipment, said Natalie Litofsky, a Baltimore County spokeswoman.
The person was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, officials said. They did not have information on the victim's condition. Fire department officials assessed the building, the East High Rise Building, for any structural damage but found it to be sound, Litofsky said.
At Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, a three-foot-wide tulip poplar tree was downed and the educational facility's greenhouse was flattened by the winds. The permanent structure was "completely blown over" and will have to be rebuilt, said Brooks Paternotte, Irvine's executive director.
"We were surprised. We knew thunderstorms were coming, but didn't know the power of them," he said. Children were brought inside before the storm arrived, he said.
Severe winds continued overnight, with a 53 mph gust near Edgemere and a 51 mph gust in Glen Burnie after 3 a.m. Thursday.
About 45,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers lost power at some point from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. Nearly 2,000 remained without power as of 9:45 a.m. Thursday, most of them in Baltimore, Howard and Carroll counties.
Elsewhere around Maryland, some damage was significant, according to reports the weather service gathered. A tree fell on a roof in Silver Spring, causing it to collapse. Shingles and siding were blown off of a house in Parkville.
Trees blocked roadways around the region, from Lake Avenue in North Baltimore to Annapolis Rock Road in western Howard County to Benfield Road in Severna Park.
A downed tree blocked southbound traffic on the Jones Falls Expressway in North Baltimore for more than an hour as the Wednesday afternoon rush hour began.
A network of buoys around the Chesapeake Bay measured gusts as strong as 54 mph in Eastport and 61 mph in Dares Beach, in Calvert County. The strongest wind gust reported in the region was 78 mph, in Quantico, Va., meteorologists said.
Weather service officials do not plan to survey any damage to determine whether tornadoes touched down, said Dan Hofmann, a meteorologist at the Baltimore/Washington forecast office. All indications suggested that only straight-line winds blew through the region.
Severe storms were crossing much of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic as a cold front moves eastward, bringing colder weather Thursday and into the weekend.
Temperatures reached 75 degrees Wednesday afternoon as the storms developed, about 25 degrees warmer than normal for the first day of meteorological spring and 5 degrees shy of a record high. They fell to 44 degrees before sunrise Thursday.
Seasonable temperatures in the 40s to around 50 degrees are forecast Thursday before falling below normal, with lows in the 20s and highs in the 40s, Friday and Saturday.
The storms were expected to bring between a quarter and a half inch of much-needed precipitation around the region.
That is about the same as what fell around the region Tuesday night, bringing the February rain gauge at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to just shy of an inch and a half of precipitation, about half of normal.
More precipitation is possible Friday — in the form of snow showers.
An atmospheric disturbance is expected to meet a late burst of cold air over the region. Temperatures are expected to drop to the lower 30s overnight Thursday into Friday, before rising only to the mid-40s Friday afternoon. That is a few degrees below normal for this time of year.