BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency as fierce winds blow through Maryland.
"I want to caution all Marylanders that these dangerously strong winds will continue this evening and into tomorrow. We are continuing to see a number of serious accidents on bridges and roadways, and power outages throughout the state," Gov. Hogan wrote in a statement Friday night. "Please use common sense, heed all warnings, and stay inside and off the roads if possible."
At least one person has been killed and hundreds of thousands are without power as a result of the high winds. Baltimore County officials reported a 77-year-old woman died instantly when a large tree struck her in Kingsville shortly after noon.
In Baltimore City, a massive tree fell on a car and across tree lanes on West 28th Street. The driver said she's about four weeks away from giving birth.
"It's just a very scary situation, I'm glad we are okay -- especially her," the woman's boyfriend said.
Winds gusted up to more than 80 miles per hour in some areas. The wind has a sustained force of 30 to 40 mph across the region, but isolated wind gusts are even higher -- particularly at higher elevations.
Many local schools and federal government offices closed Friday as a result of the storm.
The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Friday night stating wind gusts will diminish into the weekend, but winds will remain around 40 mph Saturday. A high wind warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday.
The Harford County government opened a shelter at 2301 Carrs Mill Road in Fallston Friday night. The Darlington Volunteer Fire Co. located at 2600 Castleton Road in Darlington has been opened as a warming center.
HOMES, BUILDINGS AND CARS DAMAGED
A house collapse in west Baltimore Friday is believed to have been a result of high winds.
A post office in Reisterstown was also damaged.
Fire and rescue crews throughout the area have reported damage to homes and cars, as well, mostly due to fallen trees.
POWER IS OUT
More than 224,000 people were without power in the area as of 9 p.m., according to BGE.
In terms of customers affected, Friday's wind storm is the worst in the BGE region since 2012, the power company says.
"With wind gusts exceeding 60 miles per hour in the BGE service area still expected this afternoon and evening, it is likely additional outages will continue to occur," a statement reads.
The wind is also causing a lot of travel problems, including downed trees on roads.
Officials are telling people to avoid travel, especially if they have a high-profile vehicle. Motorists should be aware of rapidly changing road conditions due to the potential of downed trees and power lines.
Pedestrians will also face very hazardous conditions, and need to be aware of wind-borne projectiles. People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of buildings and avoid windows.
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