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Maryland weather: In Tropical Depression Ida’s wake, flood warnings remain, public services interrupted and cleanup continues

Several videos from social media capturing a tornado in the area.

Flood warnings remain in parts of northern Maryland Thursday morning after heavy rain Wednesday brought on by Tropical Depression Ida.

A tornado also tore through parts of Anne Arundel County Wednesday afternoon around 2:15 p.m., destroying homes and felling power lines. Officials say another twister may have touched down in Charles County and National Weather Service crews will be on hand in both locations Thursday to evaluate any damage and begin efforts to classify the tornadoes’ strength, said NWS meteorologist Brandon Fling.

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By Thursday morning, much of the Baltimore area had seen 2-3 inches of rain from the storm, although parts of Allegany, Frederick and Cecil counties received as much as 6 inches. Flood warnings are in place until between 8:30 and 12 p.m. in parts of Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford and Washington counties, with numerous rivers and streams at or above flood stage.

“The heavier rain we saw continues to filter down into the streams and creeks,” Fling said. “So, we are still seeing some flooding ongoing in those areas.”

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Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted late Wednesday night that the State Emergency Operations Center will remain at an elevated activation level as state officials assess damage. The governor’s Thursday schedule includes stops in Annapolis and Edgewater to survey extensive damage caused by the storm.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott tweeted Wednesday that residents should watch out for flooding in low-lying areas. The National Weather Service said the area at the end of Thames Street in Baltimore and the promenade at the Inner Harbor also experienced flooding during the storm.

Forecasters say no more rain is expected until Sunday, and cool, fall-like weather is in the forecast for the coming days. But a number of closures remain in effect.

Cecil County Public Schools will be closed due to poor road conditions and the anticipation of further flooding Thursday.

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The Brunswick Line of the MARC train will operate a reduced service as a result of the effects of Ida, the Maryland Transit Administration wrote on Twitter.

The Penn and Camden Lines of the MARC train will operate on a full schedule Thursday, the administration said, though Penn Line Train 413, which usually departs from Penn Station at 6:40 a.m., has been canceled due to mechanical problems.

Cleanup continues on West Street in Annapolis following a tornado that tore through parts of Anne Arundel County spawned by Tropical Depression Ida.
Cleanup continues on West Street in Annapolis following a tornado that tore through parts of Anne Arundel County spawned by Tropical Depression Ida. (Brian Krista/The Capital Gazette)

Additionally, two commuter bus routes will not service local stops in Annapolis along West Street as a result of the tornado damage, the administration said.

State highway officials said the stretch of West Street from Chinquapin Round Road past Gibraltar Avenue remained closed as of about 7 a.m.

BGE spokeswoman Stephanie Weaver said early Wednesday night that the gas has been shut off to the heavily damaged buildings in the area of West Street and that downed wires were being de-energized. Later, around 10:45 p.m., she said there are no reported active gas leaks and crews have continued to canvass the area for safety.

As of Thursday morning, about 3,500 people in the Baltimore area were without power, according to BGE’s outage map.

There were multiple reports overnight around Maryland of weather-related road closures.

Three of them were in Cecil County. Around 2:30 a.m., the Maryland State Highway Administration announced that the following roads were closed in all directions for high water: Maryland 279 at Maryland 545; Maryland 7 at Catherine Street; and Maryland 222 between Ratledge Lane and Canal Road. An hour later, Maryland 316 between Belle Hill Road and Maryland 279 was closed, too.

In Frederick County at around 4 a.m., officials closed Maryland 77 west of Haughs Church Road because of high water. Thursday morning, Michaels Mills Road in Buckeystown was also closed, just off of Route 80, because of Monocacy River flooding, according to a tweet shared by the state highway administration.

As for the tornado in Anne Arundel County, NWS meteorologist Ray Martin said not to expect a determination as to the severity of the tornado until Thursday evening at the earliest.

“It will likely take much of the day to review everything,” he said. “It was a pretty extensive area that saw damage.”

The sort of damage observed in Annapolis, with roofs torn from some homes and power lines topped, can require wind speeds of 100 to 140 mph, according to weather service indicators of tornado damage. That could indicate a tornado as strong as EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which ranges from 0 to 5.

If so, the tornado is potentially the largest the state has seen since 2002, when a EF-4 tornado touched down in La Plata.

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department said the destruction caused by the tornado was extensive, with officials estimating that at least 100 homes in Edgewater suffered severe damage in addition to the buildings in Annapolis that were affected.

Another tornado also touched down in Charles County, but National Weather Service forecasters did not disclose information Wednesday evening about where and when.

Officials had to perform at least six swift-water rescues in Frederick County, according to the National Weather Service. At least 20 roads were closed because of flooding in the northern part of the county.

In Montgomery County, a 19-year-old man was found dead after a Rockville apartment complex flooded early Wednesday morning. Authorities say another resident was unaccounted for and three people along with a firefighter were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

Thursday afternoon should be partly sunny with a chance of rain, a high temperature near 78 and 14-16 mph winds with gusts as high as 32 mph.

Heading into the weekend, conditions should stay relatively dry with the forecast calling for sunny skies and highs ranging from 77 to 83 degrees from Friday to Sunday. Labor Day should be mostly sunny with a high near 84.

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