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Storm knocks out power

August 02, 2009

BOONSBORO -- A Lappans Road church congregation was transported back to the 19th century for about two hours Sunday, not by a time machine but by a morning storm that felled trees and power lines.

"We held our 7:45 and 9 a.m. services by candlelight," said the Rev. Anne Weatherholt, rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church at 18313 Lappans Road.

The choir had to sing hymns a cappella since the organ wasn't operational either, Weatherholt said. Power came back on around 9:45 a.m.

"We had calls from some parishioners who said they couldn't make it to services because of trees down in the roads," she said.

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The noisy storm, which packed heavy rain and strong winds, hit southern Washington County and parts of Frederick County, Md., hardest between 6:50 and 8:30 a.m., emergency dispatchers said.

For a time, Lappans Road and parts of Alt. U.S. 40 were closed by downed power lines and tree branches.

"About 2,200 customers in Washington and Frederick counties were without power because of the storm," said Allegheny Power spokesman Jeff Straight.

Approximately 1,700 of those were in Frederick County, Straight said.

Allegheny workers were brought in from Virginia and Pennsylvania to help restore power in Maryland, since Maryland had the most extensive problems, Straight said.

Straight said all of the storm-related outages had been cleared by midnight or early Monday morning.

Emergency dispatchers said there were no reports of any significant damage or injuries from the storm.

Although Weatherholt said the experience Sunday morning was rather special and evocative of simpler times, she was not unaware of the seriousness of such storms when they rumble through the area.

A June 2004 storm downed poplar trees around the church property, causing damage to a stone wall and the roof of the parish hall. The historic stone chapel was unscathed in that storm more than five years ago.

Also Sunday, the National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes struck Maryland on Friday.

The weather service said a storm that moved through Frederick County, Md., on Friday afternoon spawned a tornado in Ijamsville. Another tornado touchdown was also confirmed in Gamber, Md., in Carroll County.

Matthew Kramar, who was one two meteorologists sent to the area to make the confirmation, said the Ijamsville tornado had winds of at least 100 mph. No one was reported hurt in that storm.

Staff Writer Dave McMillion and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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