Harford, Cecil in limited state of emergency

July 15, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. declared a limited state of emergency for waterlogged Harford and Cecil counties yesterday, while new, fast-moving storms dropped heavy rain and quarter-sized hail and prompted tornado warnings in some areas of the state.

Forecasters' warnings of flooding and tornadoes appeared more ominous for residents of North East and Havre de Grace who were still cleaning up from Monday's weather, but none occurred in Maryland.

"Oh, today was nothing," said Joe Conaway, operations manager for Havre de Grace's Department of Public Works. "We just had a quick, 30-minute downpour, and that was the end of it."

On Monday, parts of the town were under more than a foot of water after a series of storms unloaded 5 to 10 inches of rain in about three hours. As a result, normally tame creeks roiled and bridges fell apart, roads flooded and low-lying homes and businesses were inundated.

"A limited state of emergency is the best course of action to assist the citizens," Ehrlich said in a statement announcing the declaration, which means that various emergency services and the Maryland National Guard will be available to help.

State Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. said members of his staff will travel to areas that suffered significant flooding to answer victims' questions and help them get assistance for their recovery efforts. Even if victims lack flood insurance, the administration can help them find assistance from other sources, he said.

Staff members will be in the Havre de Grace City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow; in Perryville's Town Hall from noon to 7 p.m. tomorrow; and in the North East Town Hall from noon to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Redmer said he was also scheduling times for the Aberdeen and Port Deposit town halls.

U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes have asked President Bush for help.

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