Road closures, power losses and school closures still in effect after Baltimore-area storms

·6 min read
Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/TNS

Less than 13,000 people in the Baltimore area are still without power Friday afternoon after severe thunderstorms pushed through Maryland on Tuesday, causing damages and forcing dozens of road closures.

The majority of remaining outages are concentrated in Baltimore County, where a little over 7,000 customers are without power. About 1,000 people had power restored overnight. Baltimore Gas & Electric’s website reports fewer than 5% of people in each of the Baltimore-area counties are affected.

Baltimore County libraries are offering relief to those without power.

BGE said Thursday morning that it expected to restore power to 90% of its customers by midnight Friday. Power will be restored for the remaining customers by the weekend, BGE said. Over 60,000 people, mostly in Harford, Carroll and northern Baltimore counties, initially lost power after the storm. Baltimore City was largely unaffected.

But the repairs are taking longer than anticipated as a result of extensive damage from fallen trees, a BGE spokesperson said Thursday afternoon. As a result of the damage, BGE said some equipment is not accessible.

Some Baltimore County schools closed Wednesday because of power problems, and several are still closed. Harford County public school activities, including summer school and meal programs that distribute food to students, were canceled for a second day Thursday because of road closures and damage to school buildings.

Nearly 3,000 in Harford County and more than 2,000 in Carroll County remain impacted, according to Baltimore Gas & Electric.

These counties were two hardest hit by the power outages outside Baltimore County in the Baltimore area. There are still 360 customers without power in Anne Arundel County.

In Prince George’s County, wind speed from a severe thunderstorm reached 90 mph in College Park, creating destructive straight-line winds equivalent to a low-end EF1 tornado, the lowest rating.

Northern Baltimore County was hit hard by Tuesday’s storms, Baltimore County spokesperson Erica Palmisano said Wednesday. Neighborhoods that include Mays Chapel, Jacksonville and Sparks in the Cockeysville and Timonium areas sustained most of the impact.

The Department of Public Works and Transportation has 120 staff members working around the clock, removing downed trees and debris, which has riddled roadways throughout the county, Palmisano said.

”We are not aware of any long-term issues at this time,” she said. “Residents are advised to use caution when navigating roads as we remove debris and restore power to traffic lights.”

Palmisano didn’t provide an expected time when cleanup will be done or when power would be restored for all residents but said the Department of Public Works is working with BGE to address both issues simultaneously.

”Those waiting for power who don’t have access to air conditioning are encouraged to go to libraries, senior centers or other public spaces like malls to get out of the heat,” she said. “Also, people who have elderly or homebound neighbors are encouraged to check on them.”

College Park

In College Park, sidewalks of the University of Maryland’s campus were littered with branches, making seemingly every step a trip hazard. The National Weather Service said Wednesday that wind speeds during the thunderstorm reached 90 mph. No tornado formed, but the winds were so fast and strong that the storm’s damage was the equivalent of a low-grade EF1 tornado blowing through the area.

A stretch of Baltimore Avenue just before the campus was closed with power lines down on the road. Most traffic lights had no power. Pepco trucks lined the shoulders of Baltimore Avenue.

And the front-facing sign at the popular R.J. Bentley’s bar was ripped off in the storm. What’s left is a discolored outline along the surrounding red-painted wood.

Campus and the neighborhoods were much the same — all summer classes were canceled Wednesday as a result.

In nearby Greenbelt, residents at Frederick Square Apartments surveyed the damage to their homes.

The wind uprooted a tree and slammed it through the roof of Shaconya Matthews’ top-floor apartment, her family’s possessions damaged by water as rain continued to fall Tuesday night. Another tree tore into a bedroom.

Matthews’ phone rang while she was driving home from work Tuesday, through the sheets of rain and howling wind unrelenting and blasting her windshield. She answered the phone to the sound of her daughter screaming and crying. So she cried, too.

Lee Bradfort was one of the lucky ones. His apartment, two floors directly below Matthews’ on the ground, was mostly spared. He had to take a second look when he saw the massive tree leaning against the building.

The tree hardly did any damage to his apartment. The most were broken table legs on his patio and an umbrella so violently bent it will have to hit the trash. Bradfort walked around the complex when the storm passed to find more uprooted trees, some causing far more damage than what this tree did to Matthews’ apartment. On the road outside, he found a semitrailer truck flipped on its side.

”This is something else,” Bradfort said. “We’re going to push through it like we push through the rest.”

School closures

At least a dozen schools in Baltimore County have been shutdown since Wednesday because of the power outage.

The following Baltimore County schools are still without power and were closed Friday: Carroll Manor Elementary School, Hereford Middle School, Pot Springs Elementary School, Riderwood Elementary School and Summit Park Elementary School.

Additionally, Harford County Public Schools closed Wednesday, meaning there were no summer school, programs or meal sites.

Road closures

Dozens of roads that were previously closed due to downed wires and trees throughout Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties have reopened.

There were no local road closures reported in Baltimore County, but some interstates and thruways have been shut down because of storm damages.

Road closures in Baltimore County on Friday include MD 25 North/South between Blackrock Road and Mount Carmel Road, MD 25 North/South between Ruxton Road and Old Pimlico Road, MD 138 North/South between Piney Hill Road and MD 562.

In Carroll County, all roads are now open. Reports of dozens of road closures due to downed wires and trees began late Tuesday afternoon and extended late into the night.

Harford County reported 9 local road closures late Friday afternoon, with nearly all of those due to downed trees, downed wires or a combination of the two. See the latest updates here. No injuries were reported in Tuesday’s night storm in Harford County.

After a few days of sunshine, storms are in the forecast

There are chances of thunderstorms all weekend and into Monday. Highs will be in the 80 and lows in the 70s.