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Powerful winds sweep across Carroll County

Powerful winds sweep across Carroll County
A large road sign is toppled along Kate Wagner Road and Md. 32 in Westminster as powerful winds blow through Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Strong winds Sunday night and throughout Monday downed trees, caused power outages and damaged homes across Carroll County.

The gusts peaked at approximately 57 mph Sunday night, but were recorded at 46 mph at daybreak Monday, said Howard Silverman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

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Winds downed a tree over a power line by the Full Moon Pub and Grill on Md. 140 just over the county line around 2 p.m. Monday, sparking a fire in the grasses abutting the highway, a spokesman for the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company said. Eleven firefighters controlled the blaze as of 3:30 p.m. and nobody was injured, the spokesman said.

A downed tree knocks over a power line, sparking a fire in the grasses adjacent to Md. 140 near the Full Moon Pub and Grill in Baltimore County, near the Carroll County line, on Feb. 25, 2019.
A downed tree knocks over a power line, sparking a fire in the grasses adjacent to Md. 140 near the Full Moon Pub and Grill in Baltimore County, near the Carroll County line, on Feb. 25, 2019. (Photo Courtesy of Sam Riley)

The tree fell across the northbound lanes of Md. 140, blocking traffic. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration tweeted at 3:20 p.m. that “utility issues” had closed the Interstate 795 ramp to Northbound Md. 140.

Pressure gradients in Canada caused the high-powered wind, said Keith Krichinsky, executive director of Foots Forecast. “The farther you get from the high pressure center, the higher the winds are because you’re getting close to another high pressure system or low pressure system.”

Silverman said Monday afternoon that the wind was expected to continue to dissipate into the evening and yield seasonal weather Tuesday. Temperatures were expected to drop into the mid-20s Monday night before climbing into the mid-to-upper 30s Tuesday and Wednesday.

A fallen tree lies on the ground near the intersection of Key and North Streets in Westminster Monday afternoon following a howling windstorm with gusts of up 57 mph.
A fallen tree lies on the ground near the intersection of Key and North Streets in Westminster Monday afternoon following a howling windstorm with gusts of up 57 mph. (Kevin Dayhoff /)

Krichinsky said forecast models showed it would be mostly sunny Tuesday. One model, he said, was picking up a possible snow event Thursday into Friday.

According to Baltimore Gas and Electric’s power outage map, 2,895 of the company’s Carroll County customers had lost power as a result of the storm, 81 of whom remained without power at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

People make their way across campus as powerful winds howl in Westminster Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.
People make their way across campus as powerful winds howl in Westminster Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

The South Carroll Senior and Community Center in Eldersburg was closed to clients Monday due to a power outage, which also affected the phone lines there. Both power and phones were restored as of 6 p.m. Monday, and the center planned to open as usual on Tuesday.

Beyond power outages, winds as significant as those that swept the county Sunday evening and Monday can also cause damage to houses.

Patrick McMurtray, an environmental services specialist at Carroll Community College, replaces garbage can liners as powerful winds howl across the Westminster Campus Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.
Patrick McMurtray, an environmental services specialist at Carroll Community College, replaces garbage can liners as powerful winds howl across the Westminster Campus Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

“We have actually had a good amount of calls,” Brian Long, owner of Platinum Exteriors Inc. in Westminster, told the Times Monday afternoon. “Mostly just missing shingles.”

Long said he expected to get more calls as people returned home from work to find damage to their homes. The significant gusts, however, prevent the workers from getting on roofs.

“Too cold and too windy,” Long added.

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