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High Winds and Rain Lash the Region High Winds and Rain Lash Region

July 24, 2008

By Richard Irwin, The Baltimore Sun

Jul. 24–Storms hit the Baltimore area with a one-two punch yesterday afternoon and evening, pummeling the area with heavy rain and high winds about 4 p.m., then following up with a second downpour about five hours later.

About 9 p.m., water entered the Baltimore Washington Medical Center emergency room through a leak in the roof, causing minor flooding, said Capt. Harry Steiner, an Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman. The building also lost electrical power, but generators kept patients’ ventilators and monitors running, said Allison Eatough, a hospital spokeswoman.

Patients were not evacuated, but ambulances were rerouted, she said. Steiner said firefighters were standing by to aid in the cleanup and monitor the generators.

About 9:30 p.m. in Elkridge, several lanes on northbound Interstate 95 near I-895 were closed because of high water, state police at the Waterloo barracks said.

No severe damage was reported by area authorities, but the twin storms knocked out some traffic signals in the region, prompting drivers to enter major intersections with extreme care. No serious accidents were reported.

During the first storm, trees along Hillen Road near Argonne Drive in Northeast Baltimore were uprooted by high winds. One fallen tree blocked traffic in one lane near the Northwood Shopping Center.

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. crews restored service to more than 20,000 area homes and businesses that lost power during the first storm. But by 11:30 p.m., more than 27,000 customers lacked electricity, most in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.

An employee of Burger King at East Joppa Road and Perring Parkway stood outside about 4:30 p.m. at the height of the first storm, waving at customers to let them know that the business was closed until power could be restored.

Penny-size hail in southeastern Baltimore County and eastern Harford County was reported by the National Weather Service during the first storm. The second storm came in from Virginia with gusts and heavy rain.

Both storms clogged storm drains, flooding streets in Baltimore, authorities said. Flash flood warnings were issued for Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Harford and Baltimore counties.

The localized flooding caused problems for drivers. Shortly after the second storm, northbound ramps to the Jones Falls Expressway were closed at President and Monument streets because of standing water. Police were diverting traffic while waiting for the water to drain.

About 9:15 p.m., a man abandoned his car at Exeter Hall Avenue and Aisquith Street because of high water. A city Fire Department communications officer said the man was out of his swamped car by the time firefighters arrived.

Heavy rain flooded part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge, and police were redirecting traffic.

Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.

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