Power fully restored a day after strong storm strikes Washington County

July 21, 2011|By DAN DEARTH and CALEB CALHOUN |;
  • Workers assess the damage Wednesday morning after a tree fell across utility lines onto Howell Road east of Hagerstown during Tuesday evening's thunderstorm.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Some Washington County residents and businesses remained without power Wednesday afternoon as workers removed tree limbs that fell on utility lines during a storm that blew through the region Tuesday evening.

By 9 p.m. Wednesday, electrical service had been fully restored, according to Potomac Edison's website.

Washington County road crews worked Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning to remove debris from several roadways, said Diane Mongan, office manager of the Washington County Highway Department.

She said 13 roads — mostly east of Hagerstown and in the southern portion of the county — were closed Tuesday night, but all were reopened by 10 p.m.

"It really wasn't that severe of a storm," Mongan said.

Seven-tenths of an inch of rain fell in the Hagerstown area during the storm, according to the website of local weather observer Greg Keefer at

Brian LaSorsa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the agency received 30 to 40 reports that trees were uprooted near Fairplay.

LaSorsa said the weather service didn't receive any specific reports of how fast the wind was blowing, but based on the type of damage, wind speeds were probably at least 60 mph.

Weather service officials don't believe a tornado passed through the area because the storm left "straight line damage." He said tornadoes leave rotational damage.

Shawn Olson, a salesman at Hoffman Automotive at 101 S. Edgewood Drive near Hagerstown, said the Chevrolet dealership was closed Wednesday morning because Potomac Edison cut the power to remove tree limbs that fell on utility lines along Howell Road.

"We can't do anything," Olson said. "We can hand-write stuff, but we can't use computers."

The dealership reopened at noon.

Olson said he was working at about 6 p.m. Tuesday when he saw lightning strike the tree. Although tree limbs fell on the powerlines, he said the dealership still had electricity.

The lines were left sagging over Howell Road, which was closed briefly Wednesday near the dealership so linemen and tree pruners could fix the problem.

Todd Myers, a spokesman for Potomac Edison, said the storm hit the area around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday and lasted for about an hour.

Approximately 1,350 customers were without power by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sharpsburg Pike (Md. 65) was only one lane near the Washington County Agricultural Education Center for nearly an hour Wednesday morning to enable crews to replace a pole that was broken during the storm, said Tony Kilby, a lineman for Verizon.

— Staff Writers Dave McMillion and Kate S. Alexander contributed to this story.

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