Storm gusts whip county


A storm with gusting winds whipped through Washington County Thursday afternoon, dropping more than an inch of rain, downing tree limbs and knocking out power to more than 10,000 people.

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Heavy bursts of rain were sandwiched between intervals of drizzle during a three-hour period. Wind gusts hit 46 mph.

Maryland State Police at Hagerstown, the Washington County Sheriff's Department and Hagerstown City Police each reported several minor accidents related to the storm that hit the area around 3:10 p.m.

The Hagerstown Fire Department were called out on 25 incidents resulting from the storm, said Battalion Chief Ron Horn.

He said the storm caused automatic alarms to activate in the city and a tree fell on a home on Magnolia Avenue. No one was injured.

"It was a run of the mill thunderstorm calls," he said.

Traffic lights throughout Hagerstown were knocked out and city officers and fire police directed traffic at major intersections, including Wilson Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue.


A fallen tree limb brought down power lines at Oak Hill Avenue and crews were called out to clear the intersection of leaves and branches.

A downed tree caused traffic to back up at the on-ramp of Interstate 81 at Interstate 70 while workers from the Maryland State Highway Administration cleaned up the debris, state police said.

People in the North End found branches and debris lying on sidewalks and lawns.

At the storm's peak more than 10,000 electricity customers in Hagerstown were without power, said Dave Burgan, power distribution superintendent for Hagerstown's Light Department.

Burgan said power was restored to most customers within a few hours after the storm.

An Allegheny Energy spokesman said 1,400 customers were without power in the western and southern portions of Washington County.

By 9 p.m., 300 customers remained without power, mainly in the Big Pool area.

Crews were on the scene all evening and power was expected to be restored to all customers by 2 a.m., said Allegheny Energy spokesman Guy Fletcher.

Fletcher said the storm came as no surprise to the power company, which monitored its path as it moved east from West Virginia.

A 1.21 inches of rain that fell in Hagerstown during Thursday's storm brought the monthly rainfall total to 2.79 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

So far this year, 21.65 inches of precipitation have fallen here, the weather service said.

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