8:51 p.m. from Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association: Two people taken to hospitals. One to Franklin Square and the other to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Both were injured when the approximately 20-foot by 10-foot structure collapsed in Fallston. At one point, the fire department had a count of 20 buildings in the storm corridor that were damaged; a half-dozen severely. The fire departmentalong with other agencies are assessing the area for further damage. Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is on the scene and working with the fire department.
Photos of storm damage at the scene of the structure collapse and injuries in Fallston, courtesy of Rich Gardiner:
7:15 p.m. from Harford County Councilman Jim McMahan: Severe damage as the result of a possible tornado occurred in the area of Maryland Rt one from the By-pass (MD 147) to Maryland Rt 152. Several buildings collapsed. There were injuries. Once Car dealership lost its roof and there are reports that several cars were tossed about at car dealerships. The State Police Barrack near Bel Air is without phone service but calls are automatically routed to the the Emergency Ops Center in Hickory.
7:05 p.m. from Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association: Four patients are being treated and one to be transported to a trauma facility as a result of a structure collapse in the area of West Grove Avenue and Route 1 in Fallston.
6:15 p.m.: Dan Ingrao was in Bel Air Honda when the storm passed overhead. He snapped a few photos and took a quick video of the damage in the parking lot left in the storm’s wake:
County Response to Friday’s Storms is Underway
From Harford County government:
The Harford County Emergency Operations Center is currently coordinating the county’s response to the heavy storms that passed through the area Friday evening.
A mobile command center was established in the Benson area near one of the hardest-hit parts of the county. The County Executive and representatives of County Government, the Volunteer Fire Service, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the utility companies, and other agencies have been on site to coordinate the on-the-ground recovery effort.
Technical Rescue Teams have completed a door-to-door search of residences in the most affected areas, and county officials have done a preliminary canvass of the area to assess damage to buildings.
County Executive Craig spoke with the Governor and representatives of MEMA to coordinate recovery efforts. He also met with a number of residents and business owners who sustained damage to their structures.
As of midnight, approximately 2,700 BGE customers remained without power. Residents utilizing generators for power are reminded that generators should be placed away from the home and attached garages in order to prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. BGE crews remain in the area and will be working to restore power through the night and over the coming days.
Motorists are asked to avoid the U.S. Route 1 area (Belair Road) between Route 152 and the Bel Air Bypass for the time being to allow emergency personnel and utility crews to continue recovery efforts.
From Harford County government:
This message is from the Harford County Division of Emergency Operations. Thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon and evening. Some of the storms may be severe, producing damaging winds, large hail, and isolated tornadoes. Harford County has also been placed under a tornado watch until 9 pm (which may be extended) which means conditions later this afternoon through midnight are favorable for development of severe storms and tornado development is possible. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 1 and a half inches is possible. Remember that heavy rainfall can also lead to flash flooding. Please monitor local news and be safe this evening.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Preparing for Possible Power Outages Resulting from Strong Storms Forecasted for this Afternoon
From Baltimore Gas and Electric Company:
BGE is closely monitoring approaching weather system and is pre-mobilizing to respond to power outages should they occur
BALTIMORE, June 1, 2012 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced that it is closely monitoring an approaching weather system that is forecasted to affect its entire central Maryland service territory this afternoon and evening. The anticipated storms have the potential for cloud-to-ground lightning and wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour, which could damage overhead and underground electric distribution equipment and result in interruptions to electric service.
“With the potential for severe storms to move through our central Maryland service area this afternoon and evening, BGE continues to closely monitor the weather situation and is pre-mobilizing our storm center operations center,” said Jeannette M. Mills, chief customer officer. “We are also adjusting our crew staffing to prepare for a safe and prompt restoration of power should it be needed. We thank our customers in advance for their patience and cooperation.”
Much like BGE prepares for severe weather and the possibility of power outages, customers should also be prepared and take steps to ensure the safety of their families and property during electric service interruptions. Customers should keep the following items readily available:
Flashlights – not candles
Battery operated clock radio
Fully charged cell phone
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. Additional important information on storm preparedness can be found in the Storm Safety section on bge.com.
The safety of BGE’s customers and employees is always the utility’s top priority. Customers are always reminded to stay away from downed power lines and to report them immediately by calling 1-800-685-0123. Power outages should be reported by calling BGE’s automated system at 1-877-778-2222. Customers with special needs, including those who may be elderly, handicapped or dependent on electricity for medical equipment, should have alternate arrangements in place should they experience an extended power outage. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer 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 the event of widespread outages from severe weather, customers can stay informed of restoration efforts via bge.com, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
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 bge.com.
STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION URGES MOTORISTS TO USE CAUTION IN SEVERE WEATHER
From the State Highway Administration:
Dangerous Weather Forecasted for Rush Hour in Portions of the State
(June 1, 2012) – The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is urging motorists to use extreme caution driving as the National Weather Service is forecasting potential severe weather for much of Maryland. Some counties may experience strong storms and high winds by the afternoon rush hour.
The weather service says the storms could produce high winds, flash flooding, hail and the possibility of tornadoes. These storms could bring down trees or tree limbs, flood roads, cause power lines to fall and create traffic signal outages. Motorists should monitor the weather carefully and use 511 for the latest information.
“It is imperative that motorists heed warnings that are issued by the weather service and slow down and stay alert when on the road or delay trips until storms have passed,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely.”
Here are some things to remember about driving in severe weather:
• Drivers should NOT drive through standing water. “Turn around Don’t Drown;”
• High winds may cause downed trees and power lines (don’t go near sparking wires);
• Use low-beam headlights when wipers are in operation;
• Delay trips during severe weather; and
• Remember to buckle up.
SHA recommends that all highway users monitor local radio, TV and internet for the latest weather forecast for changing conditions and use 511 (1-855-GO-MD511) or www.md511.org for the latest real-time travel information.