Bel Air, rest of Harford clean up from Sandy Wednesday

  • Mark Stewart of Bel Air empties his truck in one go at the Tollgate yard waste facility in Bel Air Wednesday, which will be open the rest of the week through Sunday so residents can drop off tree limbs and other vegetative debris from Storm Sandy.
Mark Stewart of Bel Air empties his truck in one go at the Tollgate… (Nicole Munchel | Aegis Staff,…)
November 01, 2012

Nearly 15 percent of homes and businesses in central and southern Harford County still did not have power early Wednesday morning, as residents dealt with the after-effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Serious traffic problems at the intersection of Fulford and South Main streets in Bel Air were still an issue as of late Wednesday afternoon, said Bel Air Town Administrator Chris Schlehr.

A telephone pole was also leaning over Hickory Avenue near the parking garage, causing the street to be blocked between Courtland Street and Pennsylvania Avenue since early Tuesday.

The leaning pole, which seemed to become a conversation piece around town Tuesday and Wednesday, was in the process of being removed early Wednesday evening by crews from BGE and Oklahoma Gas and Electric.

"There's still 15 percent [of residents] without power," Schlehr said. "Generally in the southern part of town."

While there was no "catastrophic damage" as a result of Sandy, Schlehr reported half a dozen major trees came down.

The town's public works crews will continue to work through the end of the week clearing debris, he said.

North of town, in the Marywood community off Rock Spring Road, homes were damaged by falling trees and limbs. Marywood has a number of mature trees along its streets and in many yards.

Building inspectors went around the county Tuesday to photograph and assess damage to homes and other buildings from downed trees and wind.

River flooding danger subsides

Any lingering flooding danger from the storm appeared to have passed, including along the lower Susquehanna River.

"Just notified by conference call that [Havre de Grace] will not have any flooding from the [Conowingo] dam," Susquehanna Hose Company Chief Scott Hurst said via text message shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Just one floodgate was open at Conowingo Dam at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Conowingo Spill Condition Hotline. Although the hotline said the dam is operating under "storm conditions," river flow through the dam was being measured at 125,000 cubic feet per second, a strong flow, but typically not enough to cause serious downstream flooding.

The hotline also said one to six gates would be open over the next eight hours, well below the 13 or 14 that would have to be open to flood Route 222 along the Cecil County shore of the river.

Port Deposit Mayor Wayne Tome Sr. said again Wednesday that the town on the Cecil Shore was not threatened. "Everything's fine," he said.

Schools, Harford government closed

Meanwhile, the remaining power outages around Harford County forced public schools and some local government-related activities in the county to remain closed for a third straight day Wednesday.

Many county roads also remained closed because of downed trees and power lines.

The county announced it would re-open Thursday, with liberal leave for employees. The state of emergency was also set to be lifted Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Harford County Public Schools, which was closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, planned make an announcement about Thursday classes sometime Wednesday evening, a spokesperson said.

"We appreciate the patience and understanding of our citizens and employees during the past few days while county government was closed as a result of Hurricane Sandy," Harford County Executive David Craig said in a press release.

"Our focus has been the restoration and recovery of Harford County following the impact Hurricane Sandy made on our community," he said.

Shortly after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the sun began to shine brightly in downtown Bel Air, at least for about 20 minutes before more clouds rolled across the sky over the county seat. The clouds and crisp temperatures remained most of the day.

Brighter, perhaps, was news from Harford County government that Halloween trick-or-treating "is still on as scheduled throughout the county," spokesman Bob Thomas said about 8:30 a.m..

Outage updates

Baltimore Gas and Electric's online outage map showed 9,375 of the company's 100,079 Harford customers did not have power as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Many of the outages were in the Bel Air area, with the greatest concentration of those being to the east of the town along Route 22 going toward Churchville, according to the BGE online outage map.

There was another large concentration of outages in the southeast corner of the county around Joppatowne.

BGE's outage map also showed the company has restored power to 56,736 of its Harford customers since Sandy hit the county Monday.

In the northern end of the county, Delmarva Power's online outage map showed just 498 of the company's 5,088 customers did not have power early Wednesday morning.

While progress was being made in restoring power, several major intersections, such as Routes 22 and 543 east of Bel Air, did not have functioning traffic signals late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning but were working by 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Many roads closed

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