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First Burst Of Bad Weather Causes Widespread Damage

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — A fast moving storm barrels through Maryland, causing widespread power outages and flash flooding.

Heavy rain soaked much of the state and strong winds hit Westminster in Carroll County.

Alex DeMetrick reports–it was just the first burst of bad weather Thursday.

Age was no match against a violent burst of wind, which toppled a 380-year-old White Oak tree. Its branches came down on a car, causing damage. But a home just 50 feet away was sparred—along with the people inside.

The howling wind “just got louder and louder, and I grabbed her [toddler] and I ran to the basement. My husband was at the basement door, and I told him ‘something big just fell,’” said Donna Sizemore, of Westminster.

For most of central Maryland the first rave of the storm system was mostly a rain event. Some of it torrential, it quickly filled low spots and roadways. And it made driving treacherous.

But because it was forecast so far out, this storm gave time to prepare.

“Over the past two days we’ve been having those conversations about staffing and making sure that we have the appropriate amount of crews and crew members out on the field to begin restoring power as soon as we see outages on the system,” said Rachael Lighty, BGE.

At Maryland’s Emergency Management Center, state, federal and local agencies were in place to respond.

Maryland got lucky with the first storm, but there’s still Thursday evening to get through.

Wind and rain we saw in the morning made its way back around 4 p.m., and with ground already heavily saturated, more trees toppled.

Even a tree that’s weathered nearly four centuries of storms proved vulnerable and was lost.

“Thank God that’s the way the wind blew,” Sizemore said.

Related Story: 2nd Round Of Storms Threatens Md.

Carroll County Emergency Management Director James Weed says large hail fell near the communities of Union Bridge and New Windsor west of Westminster Thursday morning. He says it piled up “to the point that it looked like snow on the ground.”

—–

In Rising Sun, Cecil County, an 18-year-old female employee of the Plumpton Park Zoo was struck by lightning.

She was out on the grounds working at the zoo when the storms rolled through around 9:10 a.m.

The victim was transported to a local hospital. She is listed in stable condition.

Read more about that story, here.

—–

In Baltimore City, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate storm response and recovery operations between city agencies.

Motorists were advised to exercise extreme caution and pay close attention for standing or swiftly-moving water.

Baltimore Gas & Electric reports thousands of customers are without power, mostly in Carroll and Baltimore counties.

The damage comes from a complex of storms that left tens of thousands without power in the Midwest.

BGE customers can report outages by calling 877-778-2222 or at secure.bge.com/Forms/Pages/ReportAnOutage.aspx. To report non-emergency information and storm damage, residents can call 311. Citizens should dial 911 only in case of an emergency.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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