Residents across Harford County began cleaning up Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, with road closures and power outages reported across the area and light flooding seen in the lower portions of the county.
One of the strongest parts of the storm swept through the northern end of the county, causing widespread damage. Meanwhile, county officials contacted more than 6,600 businesses and residents from Havre de Grace to Joppatowne Tuesday morning, urging them to consider voluntary evacuation as waters were expected to rise well above normal levels.
By 10 p.m. Tuesday, BGE reported 19,785 of 100,012 Harford County customers remained without power; 42,479 had already been restored.
County Executive David Craig said county government offices and Harford County Public Schools would remain closed Wednesday, though Circuit and District courts would open. All branches of the Harford County Public Library would reopen, except for the Bel Air, Fallston, and Joppa branches, which remained without power. Aberdeen Proving Ground was scheduled to open at 9 a.m., with a liberal leave policy in effect.
The greatest number of outages were seen in the Bel Air area, with a number of trees fallen across power lines including two on East Wheel Road between Route 543 and Shucks Road.
Lenny Malcolm, a local homeowner, worked with a handful of neighbors to clear one in an attempt to return home and feed his dogs after spending the night at his daughter’s house.
“I knew we were gonna get it pretty good, we had it bad in the last storm,” he said. “This one [tree] here had ants. I was afraid it was going to come down, and it did.”
Further up the road, past Malcolm’s house, a larger tree blocked the road. Another had fallen on the opposite side of the intersection, blocking Wheel Road in the other direction.
Though county officials cautioned that a significant storm surge was expected, floodwaters fell far short of the mark set by Hurricane Isabel. At Bush River Yacht Club in Riverside, a marker showing the high water mark from that more major storm stood several feet above the point where waves lapped against the lower parking lot Tuesday.
Surveying the scene, club commodore Ken Peddicord said many boat owners–including himself–had pulled their boats from the water in the days before the storm. The marina’s docks were mostly underwater, but he said it appeared no vessels had been damaged.
That wasn’t the case down the street at the Bar Harbor R.V. Park and Marina. One boat was half submerged, and a second had capsized, according to Carolyn Wilkinson, whose grandparents, Phil and Joan Schaefer, own the park.
Despite the losses, “luckily we didn’t get hit as hard as the northern states,” she said.
Tenants were asked to move back into the higher-sitting sites, and by mid-day Tuesday, water had overrun the banks and poured into the riverfront areas of the property.
Among them was David Rienas, a South Carolina native who said he is in the process of relocating to Harford County for a job with a railroad company. Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, he said he was forced to move one site over–and slightly higher–as waters approached his trailer.
Rienas said he was in Charleston, South Carolina when Hurricane Hugo stormed ashore in 1989, but was still surprised by the intensity of Sandy.
“This really shocked me, how much surge this area gets,” he said. “You’ve had two [storms] in the last few years, South Carolina hasn’t had any since Hugo.”
In Havre de Grace, the city’s Promenade appeared to have weathered the storm without significant damage. A large amount of debris on the decking showed that water had washed over it at one point, but no boards or understructure appeared loose. Across the parking lot, a line of debris marked the high-water point just past the Promenade Grille, far less flooding than the marina has seen in past storms.
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Downed power lines along South Main Street in Bel Air. (The Dagger/Cindy Mumby)
Neighbors on Wheel Road push a section of tree trunk out of the roadway. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
A downed tree on Wheel Road. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
Bynum Run at Route 7. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
Bush River Yacht Club members inspect boats at their marina. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
Bush River Yacht Club. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
A partially submerged boat at the Bar Harbor R.V. Park and Marina. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
A trailer at Bar Harbor R.V. Park. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
Workers clear a tree from power lines along Route 40. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
The Promenade in Havre de Grace. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
City Yacht Basin at Tydings Park. (The Dagger/Mark Elloff)
From the Harford County Division of Emergency Management:
Good Afternoon, this is Emergency Manager Rick Ayers. The county is now in the recovery phase from the storm and our highways crews, along with our power companies are working hard to clear the roadways and restore power. The county still has over 30,000 customers without power and over 50 roads still closed.
The Harford County Government offices will be closed tomorrow Oct 31, 2012; however, County residents can dispose of their vegetative debris from Hurricane Sandy. Effective Wednesday October 31st, the Harford Waste Disposal Center Mulch and Compost facility located at 3135 Scarboro Road in Street will be open to all residential and commercial customers Wednesday through Sunday, 7 am to 4 pm. Additionally, beginning Wednesday the Tollgate Yard Trim Drop-off Center located at 703 North Tollgate Road, in Bel Air will be open Wednesday through this Sunday 7am to 3pm for residential customers only.
Additionally, in order to make debris disposal more convenient to our residents we will also be opening up three temporary citizen drop-off sites. Beginning Thursday November 1st, these sites will be open 7 am to 5 pm through the end of the day Sunday. The first site is located in Edgewood at the Edgewood Recreation Park across from the Kohl’s Warehouse at 1702 Trimble Road. The second site is located at Chapel Road Park located in Havre De Grace at 2029 Chapel Road. The third site is located in Jarretsville at the Fox Meadows Complex, located at 3653 Fallston Road. These sites will accept vegetative debris only. Due to the amount of trees and limbs that have fallen, long lines may be encountered so please be patient. If you require further information you may call the Harford County Bureau of Solid Waste Management at 410-638-3637 and 410-638-3417 between the hours of 7am – 3pm Monday to Friday.
From Harford County Public Schools:
Harford County Public Schools will be CLOSED on Wednesday, October 31st. Employees Code Green. To access the definitions of the employee codes, click here. Code green employees are to await further instruction from their supervisors.
Please be safe. For other important storm preparedness information: visit “www.md511.org or www.traffic.maryland.gov. When conditions return to normal and you resume driving, remember to use 511 safely – Maryland law prohibits hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.
For Maryland Emergency Management Agency information, go to www.mema.state.md.us for the latest storm track and preparedness information.
The MVA will be open for business as usual on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, although some MVA Branch Offices and Vehicle Emission Inspection Stations may be impacted by power outages. Please check the MVA website or call 410-768-7000 for updates.
From Harford County government:
Effective Wednesday, October 31, 2012, the Harford Waste Disposal Center Mulch and Compost Facility located at 3135 Scarboro Road in Street will be open to all residential and commercial customers Wednesday through Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Additionally, beginning Wednesday the Tollgate Yard Trim Drop-off Center located at 703 North Tollgate Road, in Bel Air will be open Wednesday through Sunday, November 4th from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for residential customers only.
Additionally, to make debris disposal more convenient to Harford County residents the county will also be opening three temporary citizen drop-off sites. Effective Thursday November 1st, these sites will be open 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through the end of the day Sunday.
The temporary citizen drop-off sites are located in Edgewood at the Edgewood Recreation Park across from the Kohl’s Warehouse at 1702 Trimble Road; Chapel Road Park located in Havre De Grace at 2029 Chapel Road and in Jarrettsville at the Fox Meadows Complex, located at 3653 Fallston Road. These sites will accept vegetative debris only.
Due to the amount of trees and limbs that have fallen as a result of the storm, long lines may be encountered at the debris management sites.
For further information call the Harford County Bureau of Solid Waste Management at 410-638-3637 and 410-638-3417 from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
From Harford County government:
(Bel Air, MD) – - Harford County Executive David R. Craig has announced that Harford County government will remain closed on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“Harford County government will remain closed Wednesday as we err on the side of safety – safety for our employees and the public who frequent our facilities,” County Executive Craig said. “We will re-open Harford County government when road conditions improve and electrical service has been restored to support governmental operations,” Craig remarked.
Conversely, Harford County Circuit and District Courts will be open Wednesday.
Additionally, Mary Hastler, Director of Harford County Public Library has announced that all branches of Harford County Public Library will be open Wednesday, with exception of Bel Air, Fallston and Joppa branches who are without power.
“Hurricane Sandy was a storm of enormous proportions which has resulted in the deaths of two Marylander’s and significant loss in revenue to our businesses as well as a notable challenge for local, county and state governments,” County Executive Craig said.
The Harford County Division of Emergency Operations reminds the public that the Harford County “Hot-Line” will remain operational for the next 24-hours. Citizens with routine questions or concerns of a “non-emergency” nature should call the “Hot-Line at 410-838-5800.
From Harford County government:
Hurricane Sandy left its mark on Harford County during the past 24 hours with widespread power outages and more than 50 county roads closed.
The Harford County Division of Emergency Operations (EOC) issued a Connect CTY notification message to more than 6,600 businesses and residents from Havre de Grace to Joppatowne early Tuesday morning. The call advised citizens to consider voluntarily evacuating due to rising water associated with the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. As of 6:00 a.m. today, the EOC reported water in the Havre de Grace area was two feet about normal low-tide marks.
With respect to roads, the Harford County Department of Public Works, Division of Highways reported more than 50 county roads blocked or closed as a result of storm damage to include, fallen trees, downed power lines and miscellaneous debris. Highways personnel were removed from the roads last night shortly before 9:00 p.m. due to hazardous conditions including driving rain and strong wind gusts.
“County and state roads remain hazardous due to Hurricane Sandy and therefore we urge citizens not to drive unless absolutely essential,” said County Executive David R. Craig. “This has been a very serious storm and we ask patience from our citizens and the business community as we work around the clock trying to return Harford County to a more normal state,” Craig said.
As of 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning more than 43,000 people BGE customers were without power and another 1,700 Delmarva Power customers are also without electricity.
Due to widespread power outages throughout Harford County, a number of traffic signals are not working. The Division of Emergency Operations reminds motorists to treat all intersections with non-working traffic signals as a four-way stop. Drivers are reminded to come to a complete stop before safely proceeding through the intersection.
County Executive Craig will make a decision later Tuesday morning if Harford County government will re-open on Wednesday.
“Hurricane Sandy is still causing serious problems for Harford County and the majority of the State of Maryland,” County Executive Craig said. “We ask the public for patience as we work to mitigate the damage from Hurricane Sandy as quickly as possible,” Craig remarked.