Residents of the Baltimore metro area are still grappling with the aftermath of Tuesday night’s severe thunderstorms that ripped through Maryland, forced dozens of road closures and left more than 42,000 people without power Wednesday afternoon.
Harford, Carroll and North Baltimore counties were hardest hit by the power outages, while the city of Baltimore was largely unaffected.
Baltimore County has more than 19,000 customers still without power as of Wednesday afternoon, while Harford County has more than 11,000 customers and Carroll County has nearly 8,000 affected customers, according to Baltimore Gas and Electric.
There are also just over 2,000 people without power in Anne Arundel County and about 1,000 in Baltimore City. Some schools in Baltimore County also have power issues and were closed on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service could not confirm whether the tornadoes touched down on Tuesday.
Kevin Witt, a meteorologist with the service, said he was sending surveyors to Carroll County to assess damage reports.
Northern Baltimore County was hit hard by Tuesday’s storms.
Neighborhoods that include Mays Chapel, Jacksonville and Sparks in the Cockeysville and Timonium areas took the brunt of the impact, Baltimore County spokeswoman Erica Palmisano said Wednesday at a news conference. In the afternoon, workers at some Cockeysville fast food outlets were seen outside stores picking up debris as customers arrived but left because the stores were closed while workers were cleaning.
The Department of Public Works and Transportation has 120 employees working around the clock clearing downed trees and debris that have riddled roads throughout the county, Palmisano said.
“We are not aware of any long-term issues at this time,” she said. “Residents are advised to exercise caution when navigating the roads as we clear debris and restore power to traffic lights.”
Palmisano did not provide a time when the cleaning will be done or when power will be restored to all residents, but said the Department of Public Works is working with BGE to address both issues simultaneously.
“Those who are waiting for electricity and do not have access to air conditioning are encouraged to visit libraries, senior centers or other public spaces such as shopping malls to protect themselves from the heat,” said she declared. “In addition, people who have elderly or housebound neighbors are encouraged to watch them.”
In College Park, the sidewalks of the University of Maryland campus were littered with branches, seemingly making every step a tripping hazard. A stretch of Baltimore Avenue just before campus closed with power lines across the road. Most traffic lights had no power. Pepco trucks also lined the shoulders of Baltimore Avenue.
And the front sign of the famous RJ Bentley bar was torn down in the storm. What remains is a faded outline along the surrounding red painted wood.
The campus and neighborhoods were much the same – all summer classes were canceled on Wednesday as a result.
In the nearby Greenbelt, residents of Frederick Square apartments inspected the damage to their homes.
The wind uprooted a tree and blew it through the roof of Shaconya Matthews’ top-floor apartment, her family’s property damaged by water as rain continued to fall on Tuesday evening. Another tree collapsed in a bedroom.
Matthews’ phone rang as she drove home from work on Tuesday, through patches of rain and the wind howling relentlessly and blasting her windshield. She answered the phone to the sound of her daughter screaming and crying. So she cried too.
Lee Bradfordt was one of the lucky ones. His apartment, two floors directly below Matthews’, was largely spared. He had to take a second look when he saw the massive tree leaning against the building.
The tree practically did not damage his apartment. Most were broken table legs on his patio and an umbrella bent so violently it will have to fall in the trash. Bradfordt walked around the complex when the storm passed to find more uprooted trees, some causing far more damage than this tree did to Matthews’ apartment. On the road outside, he found a tractor-trailer truck overturned on its side.
“It’s something else,” Bradfordt said. “We’ll get through like we get through the rest.”
In Baltimore County, the following schools were closed Wednesday due to power outages: Cockeysville Middle School, Carroll Manor Elementary School, Dulaney High School, Hampton Elementary School, Hereford Middle School, Jacksonville Elementary School, Pot Spring Elementary School, Prettyboy Elementary School, Riderwood Elementary School, Summit Park Elementary School, Pine Grove Elementary School, Pine Grove Middle School, Sparks Elementary School and Fifth District Elementary School.
Harford County Community College and Towson University were also closed Wednesday due to power outages.
Additionally, public schools in Harford County were closed on Wednesday, meaning there were no summer school, programs or meal sites.
No local road closures were reported in Baltimore County, but some highways and freeways were closed due to storm damage. Four national roads and highways remain closed in both directions due to debris, downed trees or utility issues in Baltimore County.
Road closures include MD 147 North/South between Blackrock Road and Mt. Carmel Road, MD 129 North/South at Garrison Forest Road, MD 139 North at Malvern Avenue and MD 138 North/South between Piney Hill Road and MD 562.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department tweeted Wednesday that the 2400 block of 424 Davidsonville Road was closed due to downed trees and power lines.
In Carroll County, reports of road closures due to wires and downed trees began late Tuesday afternoon and continued late into the night. More than 40 roads were still closed Wednesday afternoon due to wires and fallen trees. See the latest updates here.
Harford County reported 36 local road closures Wednesday morning, nearly all due to downed trees, downed wires, or a combination of the two. See the latest updates here. No injuries were reported in Tuesday’s overnight storm in Harford County.
The forecast for Wednesday and into the weekend is a welcome change from the severe weather on Tuesday evening. Skies will be mostly sunny to partly cloudy for the rest of the week, with highs in the 80s and lows hovering in the 70s. Then there is a chance of thunderstorms for the weekend.
This story will be updated.