News, Public Notice

Storm rips through Hancock leaving damage and no power in wake

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it was first published on Jul 24th

by Geoff Fox

Residents in Hancock were rocked by a quick moving, powerful storm that uprooted trees, knocked out windows, and knocked out power to a number of folks Saturday evening.

The storm came through around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23 with driving rain, hail, lightning, thunder, and strong winds.

Pictures on social media showed trees and debris along the Western Maryland Rail Trail and store windows blown out.

Electricity was knocked out for some residents, with Potomac Edison reporting 29 Hancock residents without power. There are 2,174 customers in Hancock. Washington County overall had 694 out of 53,688 customers without power, according to Potomac Edison’s website.

Power had been restored around Hancock by Monday evening.

According to the First Energy website, power was knocked out due to tree and equipment damage. Sunday morning, crews were repairing a pole along Main Street that had been damaged in the storm.

“Crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service to about 7,600 customers without power due to yesterday evening’s storms, down from about 22,000 total customers impacted. As the storms moved through our service area, severe weather caused significant tree damage, downed poles and power lines, with the hardest hit areas located in Washington County, Md., Morgan County, W.Va, and Hampshire County, W.Va,” Potomac Edison said in a statement on their Facebook page.

Because of the forecasted heat on Sunday, the Hancock Fire Company opened their second floor to residents who don’ t have power and was inviting anyone who was worried about oxygen, refrigerated medicine, or any medically related.

Interfaith Service Coalition opened Martha’ s House on Main Street as well on Sunday for those who didn’t, and did, have electricity. There was food, water, drinks and a cool 68 degrees inside. They even opened the theater in the basement for movies.

On Monday, crews were out clearing debris from town owned land.

Public Works and an inmate crew were cutting a limb that had fallen on some of the playground equipment by Town Hall.

Fallen trees along High Street had been cleared from sidewalks, but still lay on private land.

On the north end of High Street near St. Thomas Episcopal Church and St. Peter’s Catholic Church, branches were hanging down with wires tangled among them.

At the side parking lot at St. Peter’s, a large gash had been taken out of the wooded area as trees and fallen into the woods below. What had fallen into the lot was already cut up and another tree was already cut and piled in the corner of the lot.

Along the Rail Trail trees were still on the ground and branches and fallen debris had been moved to the side of the towpath along the C&O Canal.

Town Manager Mike Faith said on Saturday evening, the rain was falling horizontal at his house and his neighbor across the street had a tree fall on their vehicle.

Faith said the town isn’t able to assist private citizens with clean up unless it’ s impeding traffic or right of ways.

The town could only clear public areas and town owned property.

Faith did say if homeowners have insurance, they should talk to the agent who handles their coverage about cleanup assistance.

Faith praises Potomac Edison’s fast response in getting out to repair the damage and getting people’s power restored

A branch from a nearby tree just missed causing damage to Cristina Welch’s home on Baptist Road. Picture courtesy Cristina Welch.
Along Main Street and the Rail Trail, the wind from the storm Saturday evening knocked down trees and limbs blocking sidewalks and trails. Some windows were even shattered from the storm.
Along Main Street and the Rail Trail, the wind from the storm Saturday evening knocked down trees and limbs blocking sidewalks and trails. Some windows were even shattered from the storm.