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Maryland weather: Flash flood warning in effect for Baltimore area

A flash flood warning is in effect for the Baltimore area as more rain is expected Friday night.

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The NWS issued a flood warning for Baltimore City and Baltimore County through 5 a.m. Saturday, with surrounding counties under a flash flood watch through midnight Friday. Excessive runoff from the storms could flood low-lying areas and places near rivers and streams, the weather service warned.

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Shortly after 6 p.m., thunderstorms pelted the Baltimore area.

As of Friday evening, the NWS reported some rainfall totals within a 24-hour period: Annapolis, 1.28 inches; Baltimore, 0.89; Westminster, 0.26. An additional 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rain may fall later Friday night. At 11 p.m, BGE reported less than 1,000 power outages.

The heavy rainfall comes just one day after severe storms Thursday night knocked down trees and left thousands without power, and yielded a tornado that swept through Smith Island, causing significant damage.

In a tweet Friday morning, Gov. Larry Hogan said about 23,000 households in Maryland remain without power.

“This storm was another reminder of how smaller storms can turn into severe and damaging weather events,” he said, adding that state officials are monitoring the chance for more severe storms Friday afternoon and evening.

The Baltimore area received 2 to 4 inches of rain Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, and will likely see more thunderstorms Friday night.

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Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said in a news release Thursday night that there were 65 downed trees in the city, with 18 blocking roads. There were also reports of cars submerged partially in water. He said the Office of Emergency Management is working with the National Weather Service and Baltimore Gas & Electric to restore traffic flow and electricity to affected areas. In Baltimore County, one man was transported to a hospital after being struck by lightning.

As of Friday afternoon, BGE crews still had about 900 jobs to complete in order to restore power to Marylanders, according to a news release. Extra crews from other jurisdictions were being dispatched from staging areas at Lockheed Martin at Martin State Airport and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

“Much of this work is extremely labor intensive and time consuming and are likely to restore service to smaller groups of customers at a time – in many cases only a single customer – once completed,” read the news release.

On Smith Island, at least 17 homes and several other buildings were damaged when a tornado came ashore, according to a tweet from Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan. It happened around 7:30 p.m., when a waterspout swirling over the Chesapeake Bay about 10 miles west of Crisfield in Somerset County hit land, according to the National Weather Service.

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One injured person was transported off the island in the wake of the tornado, said Paul Keplinger, chief deputy for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

Smith Island, an archipelago that was first charted by Captain John Smith in 1608, is Maryland’s only inhabited island without a bridge to the mainland.

The National Weather Service issued flash-flood warnings Thursday that lifted 4:30 a.m. Friday for residents in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Storms arrived after a day when temperatures in the Baltimore area reached 99 degrees with a heat index of 107 degrees, meaning it felt even hotter with relative humidity taken into account.

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In Northeast Baltimore on Thursday evening, power remained out for hours in homes in Hamilton Hills, while stoplights flashed and some sections of road were submerged in more than a foot of water.

Jaclyn Claiborne decided to take a nap after her power went out at 6 p.m. When she woke up around 7:45 p.m., large tree branches were strewn across her lawn and part of Woodbourne Avenue.

“Now we’ll do the cleanup in the morning,” Claiborne said. After witnessing hail and lightning earlier in the evening, she had retreated to her basement with her two dogs. “I’m originally from Mississippi, so you never know if a tree is going to fall on your house,” she said.

On Birchwood Avenue, Kevin Mayo, 27, took his dog out while surveying tree branches scattered around his yard and street Thursday night. As he drove home from Middle River after 7 p.m., Mayo said, he passed fallen branches lining Harford Road and a damaged Valentino’s Restaurant, where wind ripped off the carryout spot’s roof.

“When they said it might have been a tornado. I was like no, it’s probably just a strong storm. But I started driving up Harford Road and I thought, it kind of looks like Armageddon out there today, so maybe it was something else,” Mayo said. “Earlier today, nothing but sunny skies and like 95-degree heat and all of a sudden this.”

Farther along Birchwood Avenue, the street outside Reno Thompson’s home was blocked by huge branches fallen from the tree across the street. Thompson, 52, said he normally parks his van in that spot.

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Thompson said he had been asking the city for over two years to deal with the tree now lying in front of his house, one that he said previously lost limbs that cracked his car windshield. On Thursday, Baltimore Fire personnel were working to remove branches from the street around 8 p.m.

“I just don’t know why they drag their feet,” Thompson said. “I understand everybody got concerns and issues, I got that. I’m 52 years old, I’ve lived in Baltimore all my life — I got it. But over 2 1/2 years — come on.”

In Baltimore County, crews responded to the 8400 Block of Walther Boulevard for a report of a contractor struck by lightning. One adult male was transported to Priority 1 at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, according to the Baltimore County Fire Department.

Crews also responded to the 200 block of Oakwood Road for a house struck by lightning. Flames and heavy smoke were visible when the first engine arrived. Crews were able to get the fire under control quickly, and there were no injuries, according to the fire department.

Friday, there’s a 60% chance of precipitation, with afternoon thunderstorms that could produce gusty winds and between half an inch and three-quarters of an inch of rainfall. The storms could be slow-moving, which would enhance the risk of flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists expected a high near 93 on Friday and a heat index value as high as 103. Skies will be partly sunny for part of the day, but storms are likely 2 p.m. and later.

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The chance for rainfall continues into the weekend, with afternoon showers and thunderstorms possible both Saturday and Sunday.High temperatures will be in the low 90s both days.

Showers and possible storms are part of the extended forecast through at least Tuesday. Thursday is expected to be the first precipitation-free day.

Baltimore Sun reporter Christine Condon contributed to this article.


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