A winter storm began piling snow on Harford County and the Baltimore region Wednesday night, clogging area roads and creating hazardous situations for motorists.
The second part of a snow and ice storm lashed Harford through the late afternoon and evening hours, with snow piling up as quickly as two inches per hour in some areas.
Harford County Government announced on its Web site that its offices would be closed Thursday due to the severe weather and “hazardous driving conditions.”
Motorists were urged to stay off local roads if possible Wednesday night. As of 7:30 p.m., the State Highway Administration and Maryland Transportation Authority said the agencies jointly had some 2,200 personnel fighting the storm.
“Crews across the entire State are fighting the storm as it continues to produce heavy accumulating snow. Unfortunately, the second storm hit during rush hour and traffic is hindering snow removal efforts by plow drivers. Please stay off the road unless absolutely necessary and allow the plows plenty of space,” SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen said in a statement. “I appreciate the hard work, long hours and dedication of our state and contract crews. They will be working through the night to keep roads passable during the storm and clear them after the storm ends.”
Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association, told The Dagger that “abandoned vehicles are starting to add up along the roadways in the county.” Gardiner warned motorists to remain vigilant as those vehicles may be hidden by snow.
Gardiner said that reports of power outages were spreading countywide, with Havre de Grace particularly hard hit and Fallston residents also reporting outages.
As of 11 p.m., nearly 12,000 Harford residents were without power, according to Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.’s Web site.
BGE crews were working to restore service to customers across central Maryland Wednesday night, but had to halt some repair activities due to high winds, the company said in a statement:
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), today announced it is working to restore electric service to customers affected by the ongoing complex weather system that began impacting its Central Maryland service area early this morning and is expected to continue until tomorrow morning. Due to the continued accumulation of heavy wet snow, lightning and wind, it is unsafe for crews to commence certain restoration activity this evening, including the use of bucket trucks in high wind conditions. Additionally, restoration work that can be safely conducted this evening and overnight will likely be delayed by hazardous road conditions, extending outage durations. While BGE has requested out-of-state assistance, these additional crews are not expected to begin arriving until sometime tomorrow afternoon. BGE thanks its customers in advance for their patience and understanding.
“The safety of BGE customers and employees is our number one priority,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “While BGE pre-mobilized its field forces and proactively opened its storm center in anticipation of this weather system, for safety reasons, much of the restoration work simply can not begin while the system continues to impact our service area. BGE crews are restoring electric service where it is safe to do so, but many of our customers may be without service through the night.”
By 8:20 p.m., Harford County Councilman Jim McMahan chimed in with a winter weather update and warm regards for his Bel Air constituents:
Good evening all:
We are in for a shellacking this evening with snow coming down at the rate of 1 to 3 inches per HOUR. It will not be out of here till around mid-night.
This snow is VERY heavy and that means we run the possibility of limbs falling on power lines. It is virtually impossible for utility crews to respond during these white out conditions so have a flash light handy. PLEASE be careful if you even consider using candles for lighting and DO NOT let them burn unattended if you plan on going to sleep.
We are approaching conditions similar to those of last January with regard to county crews pushing snow. They have been out since early this morning and they continue to work round the clock. BUT this is a very heavy snow as compared to last year’s light snow so you can naturally expect slower removal and more breakdowns.
You all helped immensely last year by putting your cars in the drive way. That is such a great help to our s now plow drivers in the developments with narrow streets.
We will have close to a total accumulation of 12 inches when it all ends. Plan on a slow go in the morning and above all exercise safety and patience. I cannot afford to lose one reader to Coffee Talk. (little humor there!)
I will let you know if they activate the Emergency Storm Center. Be assured all county agencies are hard at work dealing with this storm.
As always I love to have your feed back on what I can do better to help my constituents in situations like these.Let me hear from you. (Don’t say come shovel your walk!! LOL)
Warm regards, (no pun intended)
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