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October 30, 2012

Snow hammers Garrett

MCHENRY — Veteran Maryland State Police Detective Sgt. Steve Vincent has lived though a lot of hard winters and heavy snows, but superstorm Sandy and Monday’s blizzard took everything to a new level.

“It’s the worst I have ever seen. It’s a mess up here — power is out, trees are down all over the place, roads are impassable, snow plows are getting hung up. Words can’t even describe it,” said Vincent upon answering the telephone late Tuesday morning at the McHenry barrack.

Up to 2 1/2 feet of snow fell throughout Garrett County, although no life threatening emergencies were reported throughout the storm.

However, in nearby Tucker County, W.Va., a weather-related accident Monday claimed the life of 40-year-old Nancy Hedrick of Davis, according to the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department.

Police said Hedrick was traveling on state Route 32 outside of Davis near Canaan Valley when the vehicle slid into the path of a concrete truck operated by Terrance Welch,  34, address not provided.

Hedrick was pronounced dead at the scene.

Welch was treated at Garrett Memorial for minor injuries following the 2:40 p.m.  crash, police said.

Snow continued to fall shortly before noon, promoting a word of caution.

“It’s still snowing. We have extra people out and the National Guard is here to help us with any emergency transports. But people need to stay off the roads. Don’t come out if you can help it. Give the county and the state a chance to clear the roads. If you have to come out, use caution. You never know when a tree is coming down. Make sure it’s worth your life before you leave,” said Vincent.  

Nearly 17,000 Potomac Edison customers were out of service Tuesday, according to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Garrett County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt was stuck at home Tuesday by several trees lying across his driveway.

“Right now, we are trying to get the roads open. I’ve never seen anything like it. We’re closing county government offices Wednesday and most likely Thursday but we haven’t made that decision yet. Everybody is having trouble getting their cell phones charged with all the outages,” said Pagenhardt.

Residents of the Dennett Road Manor nursing home of Oakland were evacuated to the Southern Garrett Rescue Squad in Mountain Lake Park late Tuesday morning. The evacuation was apparently made when emergency generators at the nursing home failed. Generator problems were also reported at Garrett Memorial Hospital and the county’s 911 center.

Early Tuesday afternoon, State Highway Administration spokeswoman Kelly Boulware said, “Interstate 68 eastbound at Garrett County was reopened at 5:30 this morning and westbound at 11 a.m. Right now, we are coordinating with tree-trimming firms to remove fallen trees from the roadways. Due to the weight of the heavy, wet snow there is a downed power lines problem.

“About 22 inches of snow fell at Keyser’s Ridge and it’s continuing to snow. Our SHA crews are concentrating on plowing and salting. All of us are collectively working to get things back in place for the Western Maryland area,” said Boulware.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton@times-news.com.

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