Post-Irene power, transport problems linger in Maryland, D.C

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2011 11:39 AM

By Molly O'Toole

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The storm formerly known as Hurricane Irene had moved far from Maryland and the nation's capital on Monday, but left tens of thousands in the area without power and dealing with transportation delays.

According to Pepco, which provides power to 778,000 customers in Washington, D.C. and next-door Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland, Irene knocked out power to 220,000 customers over the weekend.

Pepco reported "significant progress" in restoring power after winds up to 65 mph brought down trees and power lines. However, some 16,000 customers in Montgomery, 44,000 in Prince George's County, and 21,000 in Washington, D.C., remained without power Monday.

"The effort has been progressing well, but we will continue with all hands on deck until power is restored to all our customers," said Thomas Graham, president of the Pepco Region.

Maryland Transit Authority -- whose own phone lines remain temporarily inoperative due to power outages -- reported major delays for its light rail Monday morning.

MTA's local buses and MARC trains, whose service areas include parts of Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, were still suffering delays.

But commuter buses running into Baltimore and the District of Columbia, as well as the Metro train system serving the capital and nearby suburbs were running normally.

The MTA also reported that it will continue transporting more than 2,000 evacuees from the Baltimore area back to the evacuated resort community of Ocean City.

The MTA dispatched some 40 buses from its local fleet in that effort, begun Sunday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported no flight delays for northeastern states Monday morning, designating Virginia, Maryland and Washington area airports as experiencing arrival and departure delays of 15 minutes or less.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley enacted a "liberal leave" for all non-essential state employees Monday.

The leave excepted educational units such as those under the University of Maryland and emergency essential personnel.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)