- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 29, 2006

Thousands in the region were left without power over the weekend as wind gusts knocked over trees and felled power lines.

The storm system caused problems all along the East Coast, from Maine to Virginia.

“We saw it coming, and we were ready,” said Bob Gould, a spokesman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

He said the company had additional crews at standby before the storm front hit so they could begin repairs immediately.

About 9,400 customers were left without power Saturday night, officials said.

In Baltimore County and Baltimore city, there were more than 1,200 customers without power yesterday afternoon, according to the BGE Web site. Carroll County had more than 600 customers without power, Harford County had more than 300, and Anne Arundel County had 167.

Two hundred crews worked round-the-clock to restore power to customers, Mr. Gould said.

A combination of the high winds and rain-soaked soil allowed tree roots to be ripped right out of the ground — causing entire trees to fall on the wires, officials said.

The National Weather Service said the wind gusts reached 45 to 50 mph in Maryland and Virginia. The peak wind speed was 53 mph in Hagerstown, Md.

Power outages were evenly spread across Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and the District, which is “very unusual for this area,” said Mary-Beth Hutchinson, a spokeswoman for Potomac Electric Power Co.

“Considering the force of the wind, it could have been worse,” she said.

Pepco said 11,000 customers were without power Saturday night in the District and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

But by yesterday morning, fewer than 800 people were without electricity.

Daisy Pridgen, a spokeswoman for Dominion Virginia Power, said yesterday that from 6 p.m. Saturday until 2 p.m. yesterday there were 22,000 customers affected by the winds.

“Outages were widespread and sporadic,” she said. “We had to call in extra crews to the areas hit the hardest.”

The two most-affected parts were Northern Virginia — including Alexandria and Fairfax County — and the Richmond area.

“There is still some cleanup to do, but we are making progress,” Miss Pridgen said.

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