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GARRETT COUNTY, Md. (AP/WJZ) — One county in far Western Maryland is suffering some of the worst lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy, with most of its local roads still impassable and nearly eight in 10 people lost power after a blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow.
Gov. Martin O’Malley will visit residents and emergency management officials in Garrett County on Thursday. By the morning, it had the most power outages remaining in the state at more than 15,000.
Jessica Kartalija reports, the governor toured the neighborhoods hit the hardest.
“The primary focus of county efforts is to work to have roads open by the weekend,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said.
As Sandy made its way up the East Coast, Garrett County, at the foot of the Appalachian mountains, got hit especially hard.
“I’ve never seen anything like this and I have been here my whole life,” Donna Bailey said.
“I know one thing about it. They say it’s going to be one of the worst storms in U.S.A. history,” Rachel Bailey said.
Some neighborhoods are buried beneath three feet of snow, forcing residents like Donna and Rachel Bailey to area shelters.
O’Malley visited a Garrett County shelter to assess the damage.
“My primary concern is for senior citizens who have been living alone and surviving on their own, often times trapped, sometimes for these three days,” he said.
Bonnie Mahaffey had to be rescued from her home.
“I’m here because I have no power in my apartment, and I am on oxygen and I need electricity,” she said.
“The folks who are here are the ones who have been able to make it to the shelter, and we are providing them with food and resources until they get their power back up in their residences,” Alicia Streets of the Department of Social Services said.
In Baltimore City, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake visits first responders from Baltimore’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team headed to Garrett County to help.
“We’re hearing there’s no communication with a lot of folks, roads are completely blocked and they haven’t been able to gain access to them at all,” Scott Meback of the USAR team said.
At least seven percent of Garrett County’s roads are inaccessible, creating a headache for crews trying to restore power to more than 15,000 homes.
“This heavy snow and stuff is making it hard on everybody,” Kevin Green said.
The goal is to ensure that everyone who needs to get to a shelter gets there safely. O’Malley said they hope to have all the roads open and accessible by this weekend.
For residents still without power, remember to use generators outdoors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)