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Bonnie may bypass Maryland

August 25, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

After a brief cool period, Washington County has returned to steamy temperatures, but Hurricane Bonnie could be a wild card.

National Weather Service forecasters predict temperatures will reach 90 degrees and skies will remain clear throughout the week. That could change, however, if the hurricane reaches the Northeast.

Currently, the storm is about 650 miles southeast of Savannah, Ga. It has sustained winds of 115 mph but the hurricane is moving at about 5 mph, meteorologist Dewey Walston said.

The storm might brush the southeast coast of North Carolina early Thursday, Walston said. Just 12 hours earlier, however, official forecasts were projecting the storm would hit Charleston, S.C.

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"It keeps moving all around. The confidence (of the prediction) is extremely low," he said.

As a result, emergency management officials in Maryland began to take precautions on Monday.

"Marylanders should be paying close attention to news reports on Bonnie's position and track for the next few days," Maryland Emergency Management Agency Director David McMillion said in a news release.

Washington County Fire and Rescue Communications Chief Ronald H. Karn said local officials have taken no action because the threat is more pronounced in the coastal areas.

"Very few hurricanes have ever come this far inland," he said. "Right, now, they're not even sure if this thing is coming this far up the coast."

Karn said local officials will continue to track the storm's movement. If it makes it to Maryland, the biggest threat locally would be heavy rain and potential flooding, he said.

Concern about the storm has somewhat overshadowed the return of hot temperatures.

The temperature reached a high of 91 degrees on Monday, the third straight 90-plus day.

The high temperatures follow about a week of temperatures that hovered in the low 80s.

Forecasts call for more of the same for the rest of the week.

Forecasters predict the high will reach 90 degrees today and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The agency's extended forecast calls for a high of between 85 and 90 degrees on Thursday and 90 degrees Friday and Saturday.

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