- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley was thankful Tuesday morning that his state escaped the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s damage, but called on residents to remain cautious for the next day as crews assess damage and restore power.

The storm ravaged the East Coast on Tuesday but appears to have done its worst harm northeast of Maryland, likely causing billions of dollars in damage and killing at least 17 people in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, said there have been two reported deaths in Maryland, but most residents have managed to stay out of harm’s way.

“It’s clear that we were fortunate to have been on the weaker side of this storm,” he said. “But we also prepared for the worst, and the people of Maryland really rose to the occasion.”

The governor said more than 200,000 Marylanders are still without power, and encouraged residents to stay off roads unless necessary in order to avoid disabled traffic lights or blocked roads.

The storm has been linked to two reported deaths in the state, the first occurring Monday morning when a woman was killed in Montgomery County in a head-on auto collision.

The governor said a man was also killed Monday night in Linthicum when a tree fell on his home.

The storm also forced cancellation of early voting Monday and Tuesday in the state, but Mr. O'Malley said the state will resume early voting on Wednesday and extend its hours to make up for the lost time.

While early voting was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and end on Thursday, hours will now extend from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and last through Friday.