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Winds, rain leave damage in their wake

November 30, 2005|by staff reports

Heavy rains that spread across the Tri-State area Tuesday night resulted in flooding, downed trees and power outages in many areas, officials said.

Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Jim Hurd said two drivers became stuck in high water Tuesday under an overpass on Memorial Boulevard between South Potomac Street and Maryland Avenue.

The first driver did not see posted signs about the nearly three feet of water under the overpass, Hurd said. He said the signs had been moved.

The man's vehicle became stuck in the water, and emergency equipment was used to rescue him. His vehicle was towed from the scene, Hurd said.

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The second driver, a woman, drove into the high water just before 9 p.m. Hurd said the signs were visible, but did not know if she saw them.

"She either went around the barricades or did not see them," he said. "She tried to drive through the water, but it was too deep."

The woman was rescued by Hagerstown Fire Department personnel, and her vehicle also was towed from the scene.

Hurd said the area under the overpass always floods during heavy rain.

Because the two drivers attempted to drive though the water, Hurd said additional cones and signs were placed at the site.

A Washington County Emergency Services dispatcher said there had been no reports of fallen trees or flooded roads in the county, but there had been a few vehicle crashes related to the weather.

The dispatcher said she expected some flooding later in the evening once rain began to run off and accumulate.

A flash flood warning was posted until just before 10 p.m., and a tornado watch was posted until 1 a.m. for Washington County, according to the National Weather Service.

One quarter of an inch of rain was expected to fall through the evening.

n In Jefferson County, W.Va., there were flooding conditions along Flowing Springs Road in front of Jefferson High School and reports of trees across the road, a dispatcher said.

A tree fell on a car on Flowing Springs Road, but no one was injured, the dispatcher said.

In Shepherdstown, W.Va., a tree fell against a house on Washington Street, pulling power lines from the house, officials said.

A flash flood warning was posted for the Eastern Panhandle area, and about one to three inches of rain had fallen in the Jefferson County area by 7:15 p.m., officials said.

n In Franklin County, Pa., high winds and heavy rains lashed Franklin County Tuesday evening, leaving hundreds of Allegheny Power customers without electricity in Quincy and Washington townships.

Winds of 40 mph to 60 mph hit the region beginning at around 6 p.m., accompanied by 2 inches to 3 inches of rain, according to Greg DeVoir, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, Pa. A tornado watch was in effect for the county, but was canceled at about 8:45 p.m., he said.

DeVoir said officials in the Quincy Township area reported damage that could be consistent with a tornado, but there was no confirmation as of Tuesday night. Officials from the weather service would have to inspect the damage to determine whether or not a twister actually touched down.

For the most part, he said, the downed power lines and trees appeared to be the result of straight-line winds.

Ten or 12 utility poles were down in Quincy Township, according to Susan Dutko, an officer with the Franklin County Emergency Agency. At about 9 p.m., the intersection of Mannheim Road and Pa. 997 was closed due to flooding.

"It looks like where those poles went down was on Pa. 997 between Stamey Hill Road and Slabtown Road," said Jean Byers of Mont Alto, Pa., who said that section of road was closed off. Most of the borough appeared to be without power as of 10 p.m., except for the Penn State campus, she said.

Allegheny Power spokesman Fred Solomon said power was out to 870 customers in Quincy Township and 973 customers in the Zullinger, Pa., area of Washington Township. Power in Quincy was expected to be restored during the night, he said.

About 1,900 Pennsylvania customers lost power as a result of the storm, Solomon said. In Frederick County, Md., about 1,400 lost power, but had all been restored by 8 p.m. Washington County, Md., had 406 customers experience outages with all but about 160 having power restored by 9:30 p.m., he said.

Staff writers Don Aines, Erin Cunningham and Dave McMillion contributed to this story.

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