Volume of storm damage astounds governors

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Public schools in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties remain closed.

Residents have made the best of a bad situation, said Guy Tomassoni, a Port Republic resident whose mother-in-law’s home just a few hundred feet away for his was destroyed when a tree fell through the roof, essentially splitting the house in half.

She was inside the house the when tree hit and another smashed her car.

Mr. Tomassoni said their neighborhood was largely impassable after the storm, until residents with chainsaws cut and removed many downed trees.

“People are OK,” he said. “We’ve got some machines and a lot of guys with chainsaws. It really demonstrates how great a community it is.” SMECO crews are being assisted by workers from as far away as Louisiana and Georgia, Calvert County officials said.

Mr. O'Malley said three people in the state have died from the storm — a Queen Anne’s County woman who was crushed when a tree fell on her chimney, another person who went into cardiac arrest and a Howard County resident who died Tuesday from carbon-monoxide poisoning after running a gas generator inside his home.

The governor warned that residents should always keep gas-powered generators outdoors, calling it one of the state’s biggest remaining post-hurricane safety issues.

The governor praised utility crews for their work, and said crews from less affected areas could be dispatched to help in Southern Maryland in the coming days. He asked residents to remain patient.

“We just want to give folks the sense that with progress being made, they’re not being forgotten,” he said.

Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, also said that forewarnings from the state helped prevent further loss of life, noting that a tornado struck the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach after the area had been evacuated. There were four deaths in Virginia attributed to Irene.

The governor does not think lingering budget negotiations on Capitol Hill will preclude Virginia from receiving the help it needs.

Ms. Napolitano said the federal government would be ready and able to assist Virginians affected by the storm.

“I will leave Virginia today, but FEMA and [the Department of Homeland Security] will not leave.”

FEMA and Virginia teams will now work together over the next three to four days as local governments compile their data so that hopefully by early next week, the state will be able to decide whether to apply for federal disaster relief, Mr. McDonnell said.

David Sherfinski reported from Richmond.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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