UPDATE (10 a.m. Friday)—More than 68,000 homes and businesses throughout Anne Arundel County lost power Thursday night after unexplained blue and green lights filled the skyline just before 9 p.m.
"We lost two of the main lines that feed into Annapolis and the surrounding areas," said Baltimore Gas and Electric's (BGE) spokesperson Rachael Lighty.
While there were still more than 1,600 BGE customers out of power in Anne Arundel County at about 6:30 a.m. Friday, nearly 67,000 customers had their power restored, according to BGE's online outage map.
By 10 a.m., the outage map showed only 359 customers without power and 68,340 with power restored.
"We do believe that we have located and isolated the issue," Lighty said early on Friday morning but couldn't say exactly what the issue was, only that crews would continue to work well into Friday.
"The vast majority of customers should be back in power early [Friday]," she said.
The outages were concentrated in the greater Annapolis area, but residents told Patch that lights flickered in communities as widespread as Severn, Odenton, Crofton and Bowie.
Residents posted photos and videos of the strange lights in the sky on social media Thursday night along with theories about their origin, but Lighty said BGE didn't yet know whether they were caused by a blown transformer.
"Right now it's too soon to tell," she said on Thursday night. "We are looking at equipment in the area. Sometimes customers will see a flash of light or hear a loud bang or a pop when a fuse switches."
Lighty said this is similar to when people blow a fuse in their home. BGE's fuses actually use gunpowder, but Lighty said they don't pose a threat to surrounding homes. It's actually a safety feature on that equipment, she said.
"I've never seen anything like this complete loss of power," said Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen.
In a video shot by Edgewater resident Gus Baganz from a home overlooking the South River, residents reacted in shock as the blue and green lights filled the sky for about 30 seconds.
Following the incident, rumors spread via social media that looting occurred in the Annapolis area.
Lt. Glenn Shanahan of the Anne Arundel County Police Department said Thursday night police received no reports of rioting or looting. However, the department sent additional officers to the Annapolis area to deal with traffic and related incidents, he added.
Annapolis police reported a liquor store was burglarized during the power outage at about 9:45 p.m. Thursday.
Many streets in the downtown area were dark and without functioning traffic signals, which made it difficult for drivers since it was also raining and there was already reduced visibility.
Lt. Keith Hamilton of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said Thursday night that firefighters and paramedics responded to multiple alarms from Crownsville and Annapolis.
All schools Anne Arundel County Public Schools are open and operating on a normal schedule on Friday, according to the website.
Patch will continue to follow this story on Friday.
TELL US: What was your experience on Thursday night? Leave a comment to let us know.