Power being restored to residents following storm -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 3 p.m. Oct. 31.

Utility crews worked throughout the day Tuesday to restore power to those who lost it as Hurricane Sandy moved through the region Monday evening.

On Tuesday evening, Pepco estimated it would have about 90 percent of outages from the storm restored by 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to a news release.

As of 3 p.m., Pepco reported 275 customers without power in Montgomery County and 176 customers without power in Prince George’s County.

Crews are up in bucket trucks working on overhead lines as winds maintain speeds of less than 35 mph, said Bob Hainey, Pepco spokesman. Crews overnight did have to suspend power restoration efforts as the storm intensified.

The good news is the company did not have any substation or transmission line problems during the storm, which would create wider more complicated outages, Hainey said.

Pepco had requested the assistance of 3,700 utility workers from around the region to assist in restoration efforts, a spokeswoman said Monday.

BGE’s website listed 232 customers without power in Montgomery County and 1,795 customers without power in Prince George’s County as of 3 p.m. Potomac Edison’s website listed about 11,149 customers without power in Frederick and about 1,115 customers without power in Montgomery.

SMECO reports power restored to all customers in Prince Geroge’s.

The storm also affected other utilities. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's Fort Washington Forest No. 1 Wastewater Pumping station began overflowing at about 8 p.m. Monday and continued Tuesday, according to Jim Neustadt, spokesman for the utility, which provides water and sewer service to about 1.8 million customers in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

The cause there, as well as at the utility's Broad Creek Wastewater Pumping Station, also in Fort Washington, was heavy rain volume and infiltration into aging, cracked and broken sewer pipes, Neustadt said.

About 90,000 gallons of diluted seage overflowed from Broad Creek station before it was stopped Monday night, according to a news release. About 58,000 gallons of diluted sewage overflowed from the Fort Washington Forest #1 station before it was stopped Tuesday morning.

Under a consent decree to stop such sewer overflows, the WSSC is replacing sewer pipes and building overflow storage facilities, Neustadt said.

None of the sewage overflows, including flooding at a Howard County-owned wastewater treatment plant in Savage, affect drinking water supplied by the WSSC, he said.

Emergency response call numbers varied from area to area. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services units were dispatched 324 times between 5 p.m. and midnight on Monday. The peak period was between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., when units were dispatched 156 times.

From midnight to 4 a.m. Tuesday MCFRS were dispatched 47 times.

Several Montgomery hospitals rescheduled or are in the process of rescheduling elective or nonemergency procedures in light of the storm, but they, like other area hospitals, had no issues related to power or staffing.

“Everything went very smoothly,” said Nikki Yeager, vice president of strategic planning, marketing and business development for MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney.

Lydia Parris, an Adventist HealthCare spokeswoman, said Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville and the Shady Grove Adventist Germantown Emergency Center treated several storm-related injuries, though they are not serious and most were related to downed limbs and falls.

Other area hospitals did not receive any individuals with storm-related injuries or did not track such injuries.

In Prince George’s, according to the county executive’s office, there were fewer 911 calls received throughout Monday night tham a there are typically under normal weather codnitions.

Prince Georges’ three emergency shelters set up Monday morning and afternoon were sparsely used. Charles Herbert Flowers High Schiool in Springdale had 17 residents stay through Monday night and RItchie Collesium at the University of Maryland, College Park had 19. The number at Gwynn Park High School was not immediately available.

The amount of rainfall is causing waterways in the area to swell. Jason Elliott, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service Technician in Sterling, Virginia, said that water levels were still rising on the Potomac. The water level at Edward’s Ferry was 15.25 feet, Elliott said, about three feet above normal.

Water levels on the Potomac will likely continue to rise through Wednesday afternoon, Elliott said.

Sligo Creek, near Takoma Park, crested Tuesday morning, at 4.4 feet, he said.

And Seneca Creek rose to 11.1 feet at 8 a.m. Tuesday, or about 3.5 feet above its flood damage.

The Monocacy river is currently at 19.81 feet at its highest point, already well above its flood stage of 15 feet. It is expected to crest 21.6 feet at 8 p.m. tonight, Elliott said.

“That’s major flooding.”

Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s county schools remained closed Tuesday.

Montgomery County Public Schools will reopen Wednesday, said schools spokesman Dana Tofig.

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, three schools in Montgomery County—Chevy Chase Elementary, the Blair Ewing Center and Sligo Middle—were still without power, Tofig said. The school system will communicate with school communities directly if their school is to be closed Wednesday, he said. That decision will be made by 5 a.m. Wednesday.

No school buildings suffered major damage in the storm, although there were was some minor roof damage and some tree limbs and trees came down, Tofig said.

Prince George’s has also announced that classes will resume Wednesday.

As of noon, Montgomery College had not yet determined if classes would resume Wednesday, said college spokesman Marcus Rosano.

No major damage was reported on the college’s campuses in Rockville, Silver Spring and Germantown. One building in Germantown was without power as of noon.

The Maryland Transit Administration plans to start limited service at noon Tuesday, according to a press release, for local bus, Metro subway and mobility/paratransit. The MARC trains and communiter bus routes will remain closed Tuesday.

Metro restored service today at 2 p.m. on a Sunday schedule with no rush hour-type service, said Caroline Lukas, a spokeswoman for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

She said an infrastructural inspection was done at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and that while there was some “minor water infiltration” there is “nothing major” that will prohibit Metro from operating the full extent of its rail lines. Metro bus routes were also run and are considered “operable” without any major debris of flooding along the routes, she said.

Metro Access will be cancelled for today, Lukas said, but will resume fully tomorrow along with the rail and bus routes.

Montgomery’s Ride-On will start restoring Sunday-level service at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Esther Bowring of the county’s public information office. She said Ride-On is expected to resume its normal schedule tomorrow.

“Hopefully by 4 p.m., they will be able to clear most of the routes, but I don’t know,” said Bowring, who encouraged people to check the delays and detours page on the county website.

TheBus in Prince George’s remains closed so far.

A fatal accident in Clarksburg yesterday has been ruled storm-related by the state’s medical examiner, though Montgomery County Police are only saying it’s possible the storm played a role as they continue their investigation, according to a report from The Washington Post.

The storm and resultant high water and downed trees have caused a number of roads in the area to become impassable. Montgomery County has a list of road closures at www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/dot/tmc/getincidents.asp.

Frederick County has a list of road closings at www.frederickcountymd.gov/roadsclosed.

Prince George’s road closings can be found at cms.princegeorgescountymd.gov/ExecutiveNews/default.aspx?itemid=965.

The following is a list of entertainment-related closings and cancellations for Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Montgomery County

* Strathmore (www.strathmore.org) — closed

* AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (www.afi.com/silver) — closed

* Black Rock (www.blackrockcenter.org) — closed

* Imagination Stage (www.imaginationstage.org) — closed

* Olney Theatre Center (www.olneytheatre.org) — closed

* All Tuesday classes at Adventure Theatre-MTC (www.adventuretheatre-mtc.org) have been canceled.

* Tuesday’s performance of “I Love to Eat” at Bethesda’s Round House Theater (www.roundhousetheater.org) has been canceled.

Prince George’s County

* Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts (www.claricesmithcenter.umd.edu)

Frederick County

* Auditions for “Steel Magnolias” at Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre have been postponed. New dates will be announced via the company’s website (www.wayoffbroadway.com) soon.

* All Ensemble School classes have been cancelled at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre (www.marylandensemble.org).

Staff reporters Kara Rose, Nathan Oravec, Margie Hyslop, Jen Bondeson, Daniel J. Gross and Krista Brick contributed to this report.