Wind, rain cause power outages queen annes county myeasternshoremd.com electricity voltage in canada

As of mid-day Tuesday, according to Delmarva Power’s outage website, 944 of its 20,540 customers in Queen Anne‘s County remained without power, about 400 of them in the Kent Island and Grasonville areas. Most Choptank Electric Cooperative service in the county had been restored Monday afternoon, a spokesperson said.

A mandatory evacuation of the area west of the Route 50/301 split except for Queenstown was ordered based on the information local officials had on the storm’s anticipated track on Friday, said Kevin Aftung, chief of the Queen Anne‘s County Department of Emergency Services. Businesses in the area were also ordered to close.

"The most difficult decision is…do we evacuate or not? The last time we had a storm of this magnitude (Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003) it went west and people said ‘why didn’t you tell me to evacuate?’" Aftung said. Isabel inundated large areas of Kent Island causing widespread damage to homes and other property.

The county has a written plan in place in the event of a storm of Irene’s magnitude and it was "dusted off" and put into action, he said. Aftung said the decision to order the evacuation was made after consultations with law enforcement officials, County Administrator Gregg Todd, health officials, school officials and others. "It was a large brain trust," he said.

"Due to budget cuts we did not have the Reverse 911 at normal levels. We had it, but not at normal levels," he said, adding that it costs about $20,000 a year to maintain it. The department received approval to contact the company that provides the service and bring it up to normal level for a seven-day period a process he said took four to five hours.

Aftung said he had a written declaration of emergency signed by County Commission President Steve Arentz in hand. That, and the activation of the emergency center, was needed for the county to receive outside aid following President Barack Obama’s declaration of a state of emergency in Maryland.

Aftung did not know how many people evacuated the area west of the 50/301 split but said that traffic cameras Saturday afternoon did not show much traffic. As for how many businesses closed, he said he believes there was a lot of support for that decision. Some businesses on Kent Island boarded up their windows.

Aftung said as much as 13.24 inches of rain fell on Queen Anne‘s County during the storm and caused significant flooding in the northern part of the county. That flooding was a combination of heavy rain collecting in areas and streams overflowing their banks, rather than tidal surge. The area hardest hit by flooding was around Millington, he said.

Damage assessment teams will be coming to look at local damage to help determine government financial aid, Aftung explained. Aftung urged people to let the Department of Emergency Services know if they have damage and said assistance centers will be set up.

"We’re starting to get more towards the stage where we have a lot of individual outages (and) they tend to be harder to address, sometimes harder to access," Stockbridge said. "Although we had extensive outages we didn’t see the wholesale kind of damage that we were concerned about that this type of storm can produce."

Choptank Electric Cooperative spokesperson Ann Whaples said that at the height of the storm, around 5 a.m. Sunday, there were 1,224 customers out in Queen Anne’s County. The company has 2,754 total customers in the county, she said. As of mid-day Tuesday the company’s online outage chart showed just one customer without power in Queen Anne’s County.

High winds forced the closing of the Bay Bridge Saturday evening. It is only the second time in the bridge’s nearly 60-year history that it has been closed because of bad weather. The only other time was during Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003.

As the winds increased Saturday, the Maryland Transportation Authority placed wind restrictions in effect at 3:05 p.m. prohibiting house trailers, empty box trailers, campers, recreational vehicles and similar vehicles from crossing the span. Once sustained winds reach 50 miles an hour, only cars, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses, and heavy tractor trailers can use the bridge.

The bridge was reopened around 9:30 a.m. Sunday when the winds subsided but the restriction on the box trailers and the like continued in effect until that afternoon. MdTA spokesperson Cheryl Sparks said there was no report of wind damage to the work platforms being erected on the underside of the westbound bridge for the repainting of the span.

Richard Schwartz, author of "Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States, A Surprising History, Jamestown to the Present," said the main difference between Irene and Isabel is that Irene tracked farther to the east. "When a hurricane travels farther east, the flooding in tidal areas is usually less severe," he said in an e-mail. A storm farther to the west, like Isabel, could produce "historic flooding," such as that 2003 storm did.