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Severe Weather Knocks Out Power To Thousands; Funnel Cloud Reported In Prince George’s County

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BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON (WJZ/AP) — Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) said that more than 24,000 of its customers lost power due to Saturday’s storms. Of those, over 14,900 are still without electricity.

Maryland experienced wind speeds of 60 miles per hour, heavy rain and lightning as the storms passed through the region.

BGE said that its crews were prepared to deal with the aftermath of the storms and that 9,300 have already been restored.

“Our restoration priorities first focus on public safety such as downed wires, followed by critical infrastructure, including hospitals and 911 centers,” said Jeanette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “Consideration will also be given to customers who have been out of service the longest.”

Mills said in a written statement said that Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties were the hardest hit.

BGE customers should call 877-778-2222 to report downed power lines and outages.

Pepco was reporting outages to roughly 55,000 customers in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

Strong winds and heavy rains plowed through the Washington, D.C., area on Saturday, possibly spawning two tornadoes while knocking out power to tens of thousands.

Meteorologist Andy Woodcock of the National Weather Service said tornado-like funnel clouds were reported Saturday afternoon in Chantilly, in Fairfax County, Va., and in Prince George’s County. The weather service hasn’t confirmed they were tornadoes.

There were also reports of malfunctioning traffic lights and downed trees and power lines in the area as thunder, heavy rains and winds approaching 60 mph struck the region, part of a severe weather cold front stretching across much of the East Coast.

In Prince George’s County, emergency officials were attending to about a dozen people who, as the storm arrived, made a panicked rush for the exits at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the county fire and emergency management agency. Three people were being taken to the hospital for what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries at a county fair.

In northern Virginia, one person suffered minor injuries during a partial stage collapse at the Rosslyn Jazz Festival, a fire department spokesman said.

The severe weather will be accompanied by a cold front, which means that Sunday will be pleasant with highs in the upper 70s.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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