EASTON — Strong winds and rain from Tropical Storm Isaias pummeled Maryland's Eastern Shore Tuesday, Aug. 4, bringing tornadoes and causing downed trees, widespread flooding of numerous roads, and an hours-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge closure.
At the height of the storm, tornados were abound across the mid-Shore, with Dorchester County fire companies reporting a tornado just before 8 a.m. in the Reids Grove area of the county near Rhodesdale and Palmers Mill Road.
In Queen Anne's County, residents reported at least one unconfirmed tornado in the area of the Queenstown Outlets, which caused a tractor trailer to flip on U.S. Route 50, according to County Emergency Services Director Scott Haas.
Haas said the the driver of the overturned truck was not harmed. The National Weather Service, he said, would confirm in the next few days whether the reported activity was, in fact, a tornado.
Talbot County did not report any tornado activity, according to County Emergency Services Director Clay Stamp. But at the storm's peak, Stamp said, 54 roads were blocked because of flooding or fallen trees.
"It's fair to say that, for the rest of this week, (County Public Works) and the (Roads Department) are all going to be very busy moving debris," he said.
Due to high winds, the Bay Bridge alternated between limited and full wind restrictions — meaning only certain vehicles were permitted — starting just after 7 a.m. At about 9:20 a.m. through noon all traffic was halted on both spans of the bridge, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.
Residual traffic heading west toward the bridge on U.S. Route 50 lasted at least an hour after motorists were released, clogging the road down State Route 8 on Kent Island, which leads to the bridge's access ramp.
Power outages also dotted the Shore across Choptank Electric Cooperative's 9-county service area. Choptank reported 18,000 of its members lost power during the storm's peak, and 17,000 residences remained without power stretching into the afternoon because of trees that had fallen on power lines.
Queen Anne's reported nearly 4,900 of its residents lost power during the storm, Haas told The Star Democrat. Talbot County, Stamp said, reported 7,000 residents experienced outages at the weather's height and 4,000 still had not had their power restored into Tuesday evening.
Emergency personnel in Talbot responded to downed wires on Chestnut Street in St. Michaels, an overturned vehicle on the Choptank River Bridge and "various other weather related calls," according to a report from the county's emergency services department.
Stamp said no one died or suffered injuries in Talbot County as a result of the rainfall and high winds. "That's the good news," he said, adding the county "fared pretty well."
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, the storm had calmed, allowing the sun to break through the clouds — but debris of branches and leaves from downed trees that speckled roads across the Shore served as a reminder of the storm's wrath.
As of Tuesday evening, a flood warning remained in effect through 6 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, for the Shore — namely for the low-lying tidal areas of Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot and Caroline counties, the NWS alerted.