Harford County Executive David Craig declared a state of emergency for Harford County at 5 p.m. Friday evening as local government and other agencies braced for Hurricane Irene.
The worst of the storm is expected to pass through the area Saturday evening through Sunday morning, and dump as much as six inches of rain on the already-soaked area.
In a robo-call to local residents announcing the state of emergency, county Emergency Manager Rick Ayers said Patterson Mill Middle/High School in Bel Air would open as a shelter for those in need beginning Saturday at noon.
The Dagger has collected the most recent information, preparedness advice, and statements from local officials and agencies below.
County Executive David Craig Declares State of Emergency
From Harford County Government:
Good Evening, this is Emergency Manager Rick Ayers with a hurricane update. The forecast is still calling for 3 to 6 inches of rain and tropical force storm winds. Some reports indicate the possibility of large waves battering the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay; therefore, if you own a boat please take appropriate actions. The worst of the storm for Harford County will be late in the day on Saturday and continue until Sunday morning. Today at 5 PM the Harford County Executive declared a State of Emergency. The county will also open up Patterson Mill High School on Rt. 924 as a shelter beginning Saturday at Noon.
The County requests citizens to help clear storm drains of visible debris and also remind citizens that use generators to make sure they have adequate ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, a reminder to not call 911 to report flooded basements, unless there is structural integrity issue.
All County owned facilities and parks will be closed at midnight tonight and remain closed until further advised.
The County Information/Hotline will be operational at 7 AM on Saturday, that phone number is (410) 838-5800.
Harford County Public Schools Cancels Weekend Activities; No Decision on Monday School Opening
Harford County Public Schools cancelled all activities planned for Saturday and Sunday, and expected to make a decision at some point Sunday whether schools would open for students as planned on Monday.
As of late Friday afternoon, no changes had been made to the planned start of school on Monday, but communication systems are in place should the schools’ operating schedule be affected by the storm, according to Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for HCPS. Kranefeld also said that Patterson Mill Middle/High School was designated as an emergency shelter by the Harford County Emergency Operations Center.
Kranefeld wrote in an e-mail that the following steps had been taken to prepare school facilities for the storm:
“Roof and storm drains have been checked to ensure they are clear of debris. This is imperative to reduce the chance of flooding in and around the building.
• Secured all loose items around school buildings.
• Ensured that all generators are adequately fueled.
• Organized supplies and equipment (wet vacs, carpet extractors and floor drying fans) to ensure that they are readily accessible.
• Emergency contact lists have been updated and ready to go should they be needed.
As with all potential inclement weather events, we have been in constant contact with the Harford County Emergency Operations Center to monitor the storm and we will continue to do so throughout the weekend. All systems are in place to communicate any information to parents should our normal operating schedule change or to deliver any necessary emergency school system messages.”
BGE Preparing for Power Outages Affecting More Than 500,000 Customers
BALTIMORE, Aug. 26, 2011 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that customers should anticipate extended and widespread power outages lasting several days once Hurricane Irene begins to impact Central Maryland sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening. Given Hurricane Irene’s current track, BGE is planning for the potential of 500,000 or more customer outages beginning as early as Saturday afternoon. More than 850 out-of-state and contract linemen, tree personnel and support staff have either arrived or are expected to arrive today and tomorrow in advance of the hurricane’s full impact, with an additional 200 overhead linemen requested. In total, approximately 3,700 personnel are prepared to engage in power restoration efforts.
Hurricane Irene is expected to bring sustained winds over 40 miles per hour with gusts over 60 miles per hour, a combination that is likely to cause extensive damage to BGE’s electric distribution system due to whole trees and large tree limbs falling onto power lines and other equipment. This type of extensive damage and the likelihood of power outages affecting in hundreds of thousands of customers will very likely leave some customers without power for several days. BGE customers are strongly advised to have a plan in place now to protect their families and property in advance of the storm’s arrival. Customers are reminded to stay informed of BGE’s restoration efforts via www.bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
“While BGE has proactively requested and obtained out-of-state resources to assist in the restoration effort, it also reminds customers that certain types of work, such as repairs requiring the use of bucket trucks, cannot be safely performed when the wind exceeds 25 miles per hour,” said A. Christopher Burton, senior vice president of gas and electric operations and planning for BGE. “Additionally, it is likely that new outages will occur even once the storm has left the area as some trees weakened by the saturated rain and high wind may not fall until the storm has ended. As a result, customers should be prepared for multiple and extended outages.”
The current track of Hurricane Irene has its peak impact on BGE’s service area from Saturday afternoon through early Sunday morning. Customers could begin to experience outages on Saturday and may experience multiple outages even after the storm has cleared the system on Sunday due to weakened trees and tree limbs that may not fall until after the storm has left the area.
“BGE customers have been or are being contacted via an automated telephone message strongly urging them to have a plan in place now to protect their families and property in advance of the storm’s arrival in Central Maryland,” said Jeannette M. Mills, senior vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “We are also reminding our customers who are elderly, physically challenged or dependent upon electricity for medical equipment that it is critically important for them to always have alternate arrangements in place in the event they experience an extended power outage. These special needs customers are being contact via automated telephone message as well.”
In addition to visiting BGE’s online Storm Center for important information on how to prepare for an approaching storm, customers should always have basic items on hand in advance of a storm, including the following:
· Flashlights – not candles
· Fresh batteries
· Battery operated clock radio
· Corded telephone
· Fully charged cell phone
· Non-perishable foods
Customers are always reminded to stay away from downed power lines and to report them immediately by calling 1-410-685-0123. Power outages should be reported by calling BGE’s automated system at 1-877-778-2222.
Customers also should consider filling the fuel tanks of their vehicles in the event a power outage affects service to neighborhood gas stations. For customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged. Customers using generators should follow the manufacturers’ instructions and be sure to locate generators in well-ventilated areas.
BGE’s restoration priorities are public safety issues and critical facilities, such as 911 centers, hospitals and pumping stations. Then restoration is generally scheduled so that the greatest number of customers can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible. However, in cases of extended power outages, consideration is also given to customers who have been without service for the longest.
In addition to monitoring current and approaching weather conditions which could result in service interruptions, BGE regularly conducts emergency training drills during which all aspects of storm related service restoration are tested. BGE also reviews its Electric Delivery Emergency Response Plan to ensure that storm response procedures are up-to-date and in line with industry standards.
For more information about BGE storm preparation and how customers can protect their families and property, go to www.bge.com.
O’Malley Urges Marylanders to Be Ready to “Be On Your Own” for First 72 Hours After Storm
From Gov. Martin O’Malley, via YouTube:
Redistricting Meeting Scheduled for Saturday at Harford Community College Cancelled, Will Be Rescheduled
From the Harford Campaign for Liberty:
The Redistricting hearing scheduled for Saturday, August 27 has been postponed due to the weather issues faced by the State of Maryland. We will let you know when it is rescheduled so we can make our voices heard!
Below are a couple links with more information about preparing for the Hurricane’s Path through Maryland.
A few things to remember through the storm:
Check your emergency supply kit and ensure you have on hand supplies such as: bottled water, nonperishable foods, battery operated flashlight/radio, and prescription medicines, etc.
If you are a citizen with a special need, please reach out to your support network and have a plan in place.
Secure any loose items that are outside your house.
Do not call 911 for flooded basements unless there is a fire hazard.
The Harford County Information/Hotline will be open on Saturday morning beginning at 07:00 AM. The number is (410)-838-5800.
If you are still interested in providing testimony about the maps, please do so electronically by visiting:
Thank you, and be safe through the storm.
State Police Deploy to Strategic Areas, Assist in Evacuation Efforts
From the Maryland State Police:
(PIKESVILLE, MD) – In coordination with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and local emergency officials, Maryland State Police personnel are being deployed to strategic areas and will be ready to respond during and after the impending hurricane.
Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus Brown has activated the State Police Mobile Field Force and is pre-deploying additional troopers from that force in Worcester, Talbot, and Cecil counties. The State Police Underwater Recovery Team is pre-deploying along with three boats in those same counties.
Already this morning, 50 troopers joined Ocean City Police Department officers to assist with evacuation efforts in the resort. Troopers are assisting officers with door-to-door notifications regarding the mandatory evacuation order in Ocean City.
The largest State Police mobile command center is being moved to the Eastern Shore. It contains a full range of interoperable communications equipment. That command center will deploy as a command post at a disaster scene or it will be used to continue the operations of a barrack that sustains weather damage. Two other command vehicles will remain on the Western Shore and will be ready if needed.
Additional State Police personnel not normally assigned to road patrol have already been assigned to supplement troopers at barracks on the Eastern Shore throughout the weekend. Accommodations have been arranged at State Police barracks and through the National Guard. Extra troopers are prepared to stay on the Shore as long as necessary.
All State Police personnel have been put on standby and are to be ready for immediate recall to duty. Colonel Brown has directed supervisors, commanders, and personnel not normally assigned to road patrol to be ready for duty.
State Police personnel will be assigned to each county emergency operations center. This will provide troopers a direct link to issues in each county and increase State Police response speed to areas of need. Troopers are also a part of MEMA operations and will be coordinating State Police response with emergency managers there.
Throughout Friday, troopers will be working with Ocean City Police officers who are evacuating the resort town. Troopers are also deployed along evacuation routes; and are working to keep traffic moving.
Additional State Police four-wheel drive vehicles have been assigned to Eastern Shore barracks to provide better access to areas where roads may be flooded. Troopers will work with local fire and rescue services and will make every effort to reach anyone in need.
The State Police Aviation Command helicopter fleet will be ready to fly as soon as weather permits. State Police helicopter crews have conducted extra hoist rescue training this summer, which included training with the Beach Patrol in Ocean City. If aerial rescues are needed, State Police helicopter crews will be ready to respond. Engineers and inspectors from the Office of the State Fire Marshal are on standby to assist with building inspections if needed. Deputy state fire marshals are also on alert and will be dispatched through MEMA if needed.
Colonel Brown urges citizens to heed the Governor’s advice and the instructions of local emergency officials. That advice includes staying off the roads during the storm and not driving into flooded roadways and risk being stranded.
“Use common sense,” Colonel Brown said. “Do not go out unnecessarily and risk creating an emergency rescue situation. The men and women of the Maryland State Police will be on patrol and ready to respond in coordination with our state and local partners.”
Mikulski Urges Pepco to Prepare for Destruction, Power Outages Following Storm
From the office of U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski today sent a letter to Pepco CEO Joseph M. Rigby pressing him to put an aggressive plan in place in order to address the outages and destruction expected from Hurricane Irene. Maryland residents are preparing for widespread and extended power outages, severe flooding and other damage to homes and businesses.
“It is imperative that Pepco do everything in its power to address damage to its infrastructure and power outages as quickly as possible,” Senator Mikulski wrote in her letter. “This includes keeping additional crews with the authority to work around-the-clock until all power is restored throughout Maryland; providing accurate, timely and competent service from Pepco’s staff; creating a triage system for addressing power outages that prioritizes community safety and vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young and disabled.”
Earlier this year, Senator Mikulski called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to examine Pepco’s reliability and customer service in the wake of widespread outages in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties after winter storms.
The full text of the letter follows:
August 26, 2011
Mr. Joseph M. Rigby
Chief Executive Officer
Pepco Holdings, Inc.
701 Ninth St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20068
Dear Mr. Rigby:
In anticipation of the expected landfall of Hurricane Irene in the next 24 hours, I urge you to aggressively plan and prepare to address the destruction and outages it is expected to cause throughout the state of Maryland.
I am relieved to learn that Pepco has requested the assistance of 600 personnel from other utility companies in various regions of the country as well as 340 utility contractors who are on call to restore power and address damage to Pepco infrastructure. Securing these additional crews is a an important first step in your preparations.
Depending on the severity of Hurricane Isabel, my constituents could be facing widespread and extended power outages as well as severe flooding and other damage to their homes and businesses. It is imperative that Pepco do everything in its power to address damage to its infrastructure and power outages as quickly as possible. This includes:
1. Keeping additional crews with the authority to work around-the-clock until all power is restored throughout Maryland
2. Providing accurate, timely and competent service from Pepco’s staff
3. Creating a triage system for addressing power outages that prioritizes community safety and vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young and disabled;
I also request that you stay in close contact with me and my staff during the course of restoration efforts.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator
Capt’n Jim McMahan: Now Is the Time to Prepare
Irene, She’s a Coming!!!!!
Maryland is under a “State of Emergency”
Update from the National Weather Service. The storm continues to move on the path predicted. Harford County will begin experiencing Tropical force winds Saturday afternoon. Wind and rain will intensify and peak from between Midnight Saturday night to 0500 (5 a.m.) Sunday Morning. Winds will diminish Sunday during the day with gradual clearing.
What that all means: From Washington DC to New York City, the I-95 corridor can expect two (2) to seven (7) inches of rainfall. Sustained winds expected to be 35 to 40 MPH with gusts of 50 to 60 MPH. The ground is already super saturated which means the threat of trees uprooting could be an additional hazard. BGE estimates as many as 500,000 customers will lose power sometime during the storm.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE. Wide spread electrical outages can be expected due to high winds. Batteries, bottled water, food that does not need a lot of preparation and supplies for infants and the elderly should be obtained NOW. Portable generators need to be gassed up and ready to go. DO NOT OPERATE PORTABLE GENERATORS IN A CONFINED SPACE. THEY NEED VENTILATION. DO NOT use Candles for lighting. (Too Dangerous) IF you are on well water and an electric pump, fill your bath tub with water. You will need it to flush the john.
HARFORD COUNTY will open the first emergency shelter at 1 PM Saturday at Patterson Mill High School. If you need shelter remember to bring a pillow, your medicines and your personal items. If additional shelters are needed the next would be C Milton Wright HS and then North Harford HS. Animal Control will have a representative at Patterson Mill HS for emergencies.
Beginning at 0700 (7AM) Sat rumor control is 410 838 5800
Fire Companies cannot PUMP OUT BASEMENTS.
Begin nurturing your family network to move to higher ground and be with others during the storm. If power goes out minimize opening your refrigerator. DO NOT GRILL INSIDE ON OPEN FLAME.
Charge your cell phone!!
Aberdeen IronBirds Move Saturday Game to Noon; Postpone Sunday Matchup
Because of Hurricane Irene, the IronBirds and Staten Island Yankees will play a noon game Saturday at Ripken Stadium. The game was originally supposed to be a 7:05 PM start. In addition, Sunday’s scheduled game at Staten Island has been postponed. It will be made up as part of a double-header Monday evening at Richmond County Bank Ballpark. First pitch of the double-dip is scheduled for 6:05 PM.