Superstorm Sandy 2012: D.C. area continues to clean up

A powerful storm combination that socked the Mid-Atlantic has moved on from the region and life is regaining some normalcy.

Across the region, the effects of the storm were felt most in snow-covered western Maryland and along the Eastern Shore and Delaware to Virginia and especially Northern Virginia, where thousands still remained without power.

But it was clear Wednesday that the state of Maryland escaped the brunt of damage.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who visited hard-hit Crisfield on the Eastern Shore, says the state "dodged a cannonball" for the most part. About 100,000 customers in Maryland remained without power Wednesday, though that number was dropping.

Life in Washington, D.C., was returning to its usual bustle. Many schools opened Wednesday while mass transit was returning to normal schedules.

It's been a long stretch of hard work for the army of power crews sent out across the region with one mission: Get the electricity restored to the tens of thousands in the dark since Hurricane Sandy hit.

Crews working for Dominion power were brought in from North Carolina. They've been on 14 hour days since the storm hit.

“This is my life's business - it's my trade,” says Brian Wooten.

The utility companies, especially Pepco, have taken a lot of criticism of their response following the derecho this summer.

But because the storm didn't do as much damage as expected, Pepco has been able to move quickly into affected neighborhoods like one in Chevy Chase, where they are fixing a broken pole.

Bonnie Loper is so used to losing power at her northwest home she has a generator on hand.

Heavy winds easily cause outages in her tree lined neighborhood. This storm was no exception. But Wednesday, Pepco crews were on hand in mass and by midday they flipped the switch and the power was back on.

Somehow, Sandy found tiny Thurmont and the Catoctin mountain ridge gave no shelter. Along a miles long stretch of Catoctin Furnace Road hundreds, of trees are down.

Tim Crouse, his wife and children, were all home Monday just after 7 p.m. when the winds began to roar.

“We been through a lot of storm up here this is the worst for sure,” Crouse says.

A tree landed right on his bed. Just an hour or so before, he and his wife planned to go to sleep. Just down the lane, Terry Mozzano was hoping she and her house would survive.

“All we could here was cracking and thumping and the house shaking,” Mozzano says. “The tops of the trees hit one on the front one on the corner.”

And then came the rains. All the creeks in this valley drain into the Monacacy river. It reached flood stage Tuesday and kept on rising. For two men who decided to challenge the river, it became a life and death situation when their raft capsized.

Both men are safe Wednesday. And in Thurmont, Tim Crouse is planning to rebuild.

“It’s bad enough as it is but it coulda been a lot worse,” he says. “It’s scary. It really is.”