69,500 Harford homes lose electricity

Ice, winds cause outage

power restored last night

January 29, 2004|By Ted Shelsby and Lynn Anderson | Ted Shelsby and Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Ice and high winds left behind from a series of winter storms turned off the electrical power for thousands of people yesterday - including about half the population of Harford County.

About 69,500 households in Harford were affected by the 1:12 p.m. outage, said Linda Foy, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. Others in the city and Baltimore County also had sporadic outages, which for many meant no heat, as high winds and ice played havoc with power lines.

Baltimore's Mount Washington neighborhood, among them, was temporarily out when a tree limb fell on a power line.

BGE officials reported that power was back on in Harford County - and the other areas - by 9:36 p.m. Systemwide, there were about 100 outages of varying size as of 10 p.m., said Robert L. Gould, a BGE spokesman.

Allegheny Power also reported several hundred outages in Western Maryland.

The electrical service was the latest victim of winter storms that have piled as much as 21 inches of snow in western counties in recent days, and smaller amounts in the metropolitan area.

Four deaths in Maryland were blamed on the weather. The latest victim, Emily Ann Schindler, 18, of the 100 block of Teal Drive in Pasadena, was killed Tuesday afternoon when a car in which she was riding skidded on ice and hit a grain truck on U.S. 219 in Garrett County, state police said.

The Harford power outage affected "most of the county, with the exception of Fallston, Forest Hill and Fountain Green section," said Merrie Street, a county spokeswoman.

BGE crews had repaired the two transmission lines by early evening yesterday, and by 6 p.m. about 31,000 customers were back online, Foy said.

Donald R. Morrison, a spokesman for Harford's school system, said that at one point 34 of the county's 50 public schools were without power. But they had been closed for the day due to icy conditions.

Morrison said some schools may have to remain closed today, because it can take as long as six to seven hours to heat a building.

The sheriff's office reported two burglaries - both on Crimson Tree Way in Edgewood - during the power outage. Officials doubled the number of deputies on patrol last night to guard against crime.

Despite all the snow and ice, January will end Saturday as the driest month in the Baltimore area since the drought ended in October 2002.

The National Weather Service said 1.26 inches of precipitation fell at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, 1.77 inches below normal for January and the driest month since the 0.36 inches of February 2002.

January was cold, though, averaging 28.5 degrees, or more than 3 degrees below normal. And that meant most of what little moisture fell was snow - 8.4 inches of it, and 1.5 inches above normal.

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