PHOTOS: Storm Damage in Howard County and Maryland
Crews are cleaning up damage across the state Saturday. Power could be out for days for some BGE customers.
A powerful storm that has knocked power out for thousands in Maryland and Howard and Carroll counties also took down trees and caused damage to homes across the area.
Readers have been sending photos and emails to Patch about the wild, brief thunderstorm Friday night.
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“The winds were really surprising,” Carlos Guardado, of the Long Reach Village in Columbia, told Patch in an interview. “As soon as the wind started, it picked up really bad. Branches started coming down.”
Guardado said trees came down near his home and a table on his deck was broken.
As of 11:30 a.m. 39,878 people are without power in Howard County; 1,983 in Carroll County.
According to Baltimore Gas and Electric, over 500,000 customers lost power during the storm, and as of 11:30 a.m., 421,627 were still without power.
For comparison, 750,000 BGE customers lost power during Hurricane Irene in August 2011. Officials are warning that restoration could take a while for many customers. The utility prioritizes "critical infrastructure" components like 911 centers and hospitals.
“Once these issues have been addressed and we’ve completed our initial damage assessment, field assignments will be prioritized in a way that restores service to the greatest number of customers at one time," said Jeannette Mills, BGE's chief customer officer, in a statement. "Consideration will also be given to customers who have been out of service the longest. That said, a large number of our customers should expect to be without power for several days.”
A total of 21 people in Howard County reported trees on homes as a result of the storm, according to county spokeswoman Kathy Sloan-Beard. There are no reported injuries, she said.
This is occurring as the area is under advisories for a heat wave. Howard County libraries serve as cooling centers for the area, officials said.
Cooling centers are also open Saturday across Carroll County.
Gov. Martin O’Malley is also holding a press conference today with emergency officials to update on storm damage across the state.
BGE officials said as of Saturday morning, the company has restored power to more than 100,000 people impacted by the fast-moving storm and are "aggressively" restoring service to those still without power.
More severe weather to come
Forecasters say that more severe weather is on the way. Foot's Forecast says the next batch of storms not quite as intense as Friday night's system should hit central Maryland around 5 p.m. Saturday.
In the meantime, the Baltimore area is still under a heat advisory from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with highs expected to reach 100 degrees and a heat index as high as 110
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- with reporting from Bryan P. Sears and Tyler Waldman