Sunday Storm Updates: Power Restored to Half inAnne Arundel; Liberal Leave for State Workers
For many, waking up on Saturday morning brought memories of Hurricane Irene or Isabel, with strewn debris, downed trees and no power. But the June 29 storm was definitely different because, with little advance warning, many weren’t prepared for days without electricity. Post-storm Saturday runs on grocery and convenience stores cleared shelves of water and batteries.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said that hundreds of utility workers are on their way to the state to assist with restoration.
The Maryland Office of Emergency Management said that commuters should leave extra time for the Monday morning commute, because many traffic lights are still out. At intersections without working lights or an Anne Arundel County Police or reserve officer directing traffic, motorists should treat the intersection as a four-way stop (first there gets to go first; if two or more arrive at the same time, yield to the car on the right).
However, O’Malley said that on Monday, liberal leave is in place for non-essential state employees, so that might save some space on the road.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier said that all school-sponsored activities and programs scheduled for July 2 are canceled. This includes any STEM summer bridge programs for South River High School students. Mosier said that a “Code Blue” is in effect for employees. Twelve-month employees who are unable to get to work are encouraged to use annual leave if necessary and should notify their supervisor of their intent.
In all of Anne Arundel County, water restrictions remain in place because of reduced water treatment capacity. This should ensure water availability for public safety uses, like fire fighting. Water use should be limited to essential activities until further notice—no topping off pools, washing cars or watering lawns; don’t run the dishwasher unless its full, etc.
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold said that cooling centers will remain open 24 hours a day until widespread power outages have been restored and heat advisories are no longer in effect.
The cooling center for South County is the Southern District Police Station at 35 Stepney Lane in Edgewater. The Arundel Swim Center, 2690 Riva Road in Annapolis is available for those in need of showers (bring your own towel, soap and shower shoes).
In both the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas 1.2 million people lost power in Friday’s storm, numbers comparable to recent hurricanes.
In Anne Arundel County, the number without lights from Friday night’s freak storm was estimated at more than 130,000 households. To compare, Tropical Storm/Hurricane Irene took out power for 170,000 in Anne Arundel County back in early September 2011. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel left Anne Arundel with 196,000 without power.
As of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, BGE/Constellation Energy is reporting 52,164 are still without power in Anne Arundel, while more than 79,235 homes have been restored in the county. In all of its service areas, BGE is still reporting over a quarter-million homes without power from Westminster to North Beach.
At a community meeting in November of 2011, Bonnie Johanson, BGE/Constellation Energy liaison to Anne Arundel County said that customers should call BGE every day they are without electricity. At the meeting, Johanson said, “Outage reporting relies on people calling in. The more people calling in helps give information about how widespread the outage is. Is it one house, one side of the street, the whole neighborhood, the whole city?”
On Sunday, BGE spokesman Rob Gould said that out-of-state crews are coming from Quebec (Canada), New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Florida. Still, BGE said in their media release that some residents in their coverage area will not have power restored until the weekend.
To see where the outages are, see the BGE outage map.