Thousands of residents without power in Southern Maryland

Thousands of residents in Southern Maryland were without power Tuesday evening after a winter storm passed through the area.

The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) said ice caused hundreds of limbs and trees to fall Monday night into Tuesday morning.

"SMECO had more than 14,000 outages at 10:30 a.m. today. As of 6 p.m. we have 3,800 customers without power," said Tom Dennison, SMECO's government and public affairs managing director. "The last repairs to be made are generally individual services, and they may take a while. They may be on back roads, and if they have multiple issues, such as trees down and blown transformers, progress will be slow."

With temperatures expected to be in the 20s overnight in Charles County, residents in need of a warm place to stay for the night are being encouraged to come to the Department of Community Service building in Port Tobacco.

"Due to the number of power outages and the extreme low temperatures throughout Charles County, the Department of Emergency Services is opening an overnight emergency shelter tonight, March 14 at 7 p.m. for residents and their pets in need of a safe and warm location," said Charles County in a news release. "The shelter will be located at the Department of Community Services building (8190 Port Tobacco Road, Port Tobacco). Please enter at the gymnasium entrance. No meals or showers will be provided."

The shelter will stay open until 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Before leaving home, Charles County residents are advised to take the following actions before coming to the shelter:

- Turn off lights and appliances (except refrigerators and freezers).
- Close and lock windows and doors.
- Offer rides to neighbors who may not have transportation.

Residents who come to the shelter should bring only essential items, including:

- Medical supplies (prescriptions, other medications, first aid kit)
- Money (cash, checkbook, credit cards, important personal and financial documents)
- Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, soap, shaving supplies, eye care supplies, washcloth, towels)
- Clothing
- Baby care items (formula, diapers, favorite toys)
- Blankets, sleeping bags and pillows (cots will be provided)
- Non-perishable food
- Road maps
- Bottled water