By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP)– Maryland is assessing the damage as Irene leaves the state.

A woman was killed when a tree fell on a house and caused the chimney to collapse in Queen Anne’s County.

BGE says that some 453,000 people in the state are without power. That does not account for the 158,000 outages that have been restored. Most of those outages are in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

Alex DeMetrick has more:

There are hundreds of reports of trees down across the area.  In addition, there are about 200 roads closed throughout the state due to downed trees and power lines and water. Governor Martin O’Malley says St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland appears to be hardest hit by the road closures.

O’Malley appeared especially heartened that Ocean City did not sustain greater damage. He says Mayor Rick Meehan “was almost giddy to be able to report that his city fared as well as it did.”

Gov. O’Malley Holds News Conference:

Meanwhile, Dorchester General Hospital in Cambridge was evacuated Sunday morning due to wind and water damage sustained overnight during Hurricane Irene.

The emergency department at DGH is closed immediately. Approximately 30 patients are being transferred by ambulance to the Memorial Hospital at Easton.

“Our first priority is patient and staff safety,” said Jerry Walsh, interim CEO for Shore Health System. “We thank our employees and physicians who have weathered the storm to ensure that we have been able to maintain patient care. Communications between our hospitals and our community partners is ongoing so that we can continue to sustain services while we assess the damages and make repairs to DGH.”

Walsh adds, “We expect to have DGH up and running with full services within a few days.”

Queen Anne’s County residents have been given the all clear to return home, although extreme caution is advised as there are still downed trees, some roadway flooding and a few downed power lines. There are area wide power outages. Chief Kevin Aftung, of Queen Anne’s County Emergency Services, rescinded the mandatory evacuation order 9 a.m. Sunday. The shelter at Church Hill Elementary School has closed. The shelter at Centreville Middle School is still open.

BWI has reopened, but you still should check to see if your flights are on time.

Meanwhile in Baltimore City, there were many trees down. Officials are asking that if you see a blocked storm drain in the city, call 311 to report it.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake discusses the damage:

Gigi Barnett has a first look at the damage in Baltimore City:

Maryland State Police say an apparent tornado touched down on the lower Eastern Shore. Spokesman Greg Shipley says a trooper saw what appeared to be a twister touch down in a wooded area near Powellville in Wicomico County shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday.

Shipley says there’s no indication of injuries or damage to structures.

MEMA has the latest on conditions in Maryland:

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge has reopened. Maryland Transportation Authority closed the Bay Bridge Saturday evening after sustained winds at the bridge reached 62 mph and gusts reached 80 mph .

Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge has reopened with alternating traffic.

Update with Maryland Transportation Authority:

Calvert Cliffs was evacuated because of Irene. Late Saturday night, heavy gusts of wind caused a reactor at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant to go off-line after a large piece of aluminum siding hit the main transformer. There is no threat and no injuries.

In Baltimore, local bus and Metro Subway resumed operations at 6 a.m. Sunday as scheduled. Light rail is expected to return to service on its regular Sunday schedule at 11 a.m. Passengers may experience some delays due to downed trees and power lines.

For more information, go to www.mta.maryland.com or call 410-539-5000.

MTA’s Terry Owens  has more:

Crews are still responding to emergency calls.

Rob Gould, chief communications officer for BGE, has the update:

“We’re concerned about the combination of heavy, heavy rain and a ground that’s already saturated,” said Gould, BGE.  “Add in the wind and you have a recipe for disaster where the trees could be coming down on the lines.”

Gould says everyone should call if there’s an outage and not to assume that BGE knows about it.

Many of the outages were in Anne Arundel County.

 Weijia Jiang reports conditions in Anne Arundel County worsened as night fell, cutting off power to tens of thousands.

Winds whipped so hard, the Severn River and the Naval Academy bridges were shut down.

In the heart of the state capital, City Dock’s Ego Alley—usually filled with boats and visitors—only saw ducks. And the rain continued to pound down through the night.

Video from Annapolis:

“We have increased our total rain amount from what we thought would be about 8 inches to 11 inches so potential for flooding increased immensely,” said Rhonda Wardlaw, City of Annapolis spokeswoman.

To that end, the Anne Arundel County executive urged people who live in low-lying areas, including parts of Riviera Beach to evacuate to safer ground.

“We can expect the same kind of power outages we felt in Isabel. About three-quarters of the homes will be without power,” said Leopold.

Leopold talks to WJZ

Many locals chose to stay around, hoping it was the right choice.

“We have a whole house generator. We’ve taken precautions with water, milk, strapped down all of our furniture,” said Laura Sita, Annapolis resident.

Business owners took heed too, working for days to board up, tape windows, and pile sandbags— all meant to protect their livelihoods, with flashbacks of 2003’s Isabel all too vivid.

“We screw the boards to the jam there and what water does come in, we have pumps that shoot it right out and we should be fine,” said Sveinn Storm, of Storm Brothers Ice Cream.

City leaders say Annapolis High School is being used as a temporary shelter. Pets are allowed. Leopold reported 67 people and 10 pets were at the shelter in the 5 a.m. Sunday.

To check if you live in a flood-prone area, and for precautions on what you can do if you do, visit the Maryland Emergency Agency website.

Comments (9)
  1. Dan says:

    The wind gusts are beginning to have wider gaps and seem to be diminishing in the Halethorpe area. It gets quiet for about 2 to 3 minutes then picks up again. Its 1:05 am at the time of this message. I watched a transformer catch on fire about 45 ininutes or so ago.

    1. KITTY says:

      I want to say my thankful ness goes to all the bge crew hho work so hard in baltimore county to get our elelctric back on you guys are great !!! thanks BGE and other companies that were liend up on 695 to get the electric on fast as you could ..,.THANK YOU

  2. Ramarro L. Smith says:

    As one article said…Hurricane ” Irene ” should be named ” Hype ” instead. The summer storms, in example, in Montgomery and Prfince Georges Cponties did ALOT more damage than this storm did. Sure, some trees down and some power outages, about what a servere summer storm would do. I know of people who actually packed up and ran up into Penn., right into worse than occured here (Morons). Watch…Listen….judge for yourself witrh common sense…DO NOT allow the News Media to THINK FOR YOU…that certainly applies to Politics as well.

  3. ladyshirley says:

    For those who may ask, “why did we have to evacuate”, ask yourself, “what if we had stayed and it turned into a disaster?” A storm can “get you” anywhere but it’s the smart thing to do to take whatever precautions you can. People who fled are not ‘morons’, they were simply doing what they thought best for them. No one knows what lies ahead “around the bend”, as they say, but to be take precautions is wise! And please….no sightseeing into other neighborhoods! Let the police, fire, emergency and cleanup crews do thier work. Stay safe, everyone!

  4. Colleen Lynn says:

    It is far better to “over”prepare, and be relieved when it’s not as bad, than to not be prepared for a storm that is worse than you thought. If the media had downplayed the storm, and then there was more damage and casualties, people would be looking for someone to blame. The meteorologists and authorities just can’t win.

  5. Geri says:

    As we all know, they report on what they see approaching and act accordingly. If it had remained what they originally saw, a category 3, what would you have done? Even though it was downgraded to a 2, wind and heavy rains can and do cause considerable damage. Most of us are not meteorologists and we should think for ourselves. However, if we see the evidence of any kind of storm that has already done major damage and its approaching our direction, do you just sit there and not take precautions? Who would then be the moron? If one ever errs, it should always be on the side of caution!

  6. Donna Wilson Miller says:

    Better to be safe than sorry. Why do you find I necessary to put people down for taking steps to protect themselves? Yes, we were lucky things were not as bad as was predicted. Can’t you just be thankful for that? Mother Nature cut us a break. She could’ve just as easily opened a major can of whoop-ass on us.

  7. petfriend says:

    Anyone who believes this storm was nothing or “all media hype” should be required to restore the power to the 800,000 plus homes in MD without, pay for the numerous cars and homes severely damaged and restore life to the 21 people who died, some here in MD. To think only of yourself when you are not effected and make fun of those who were, makes that person much more the moron than those who fled. I thank the Lord, I prepared for the worst but was lucky enough to have come out very well.

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