Baltimore meets Hurricane Irene

BGE crews work to replace power lines after a tree fell, taking out the lines and blocking Frederick Road near Dutton Avenue in Catonsville Sunday morning. (Staff Photo by Paul Milton / August 27, 2011)

Sunday, Aug. 28, 5:30 p.m. — County ExecutiveKevin Kamenetz and Director of Public Works Edward Adams Jr. were out surveying damage from Hurricane Irene on Sunday afternoon, including a tree that fell on a house in Stoneleigh.

"Our folks are working pretty hard now that we're in the recovery stage," Kamenetz said as he toured the neighborhood.

Kamenetz said he had been toOwings Mills, Cockeysville, andTowson before arriving in Stoneleigh, and was headed next to the eastern part of the county.

As of about 5:36 p.m., BGE reported 134,760Baltimore County customers without power. The city had 68,941, and BGE had 439,761 customers without power systemwide.

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About the same time, county officials reported that power had been restored to Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Sheppard Pratt Health Systems andSt. Joseph Medical Center.

Overall, BGE had restored electric service to more than 177,000 customers. However the utility expects the restoration effort to continue for at least the next several days. 

Officials said that in addition to tree debris which fell onto power lines and other equipment during Hurricane Irene, new outages continue as a result of high wind, which is causing trees already weakened by the hurricane and sitting in saturated ground to fall.

Kamenetz said that he's been in contact with the president of BGE, who is trying to secure additional work crews to help the restoration efforts.

"BGE is working hard on this," he said, noting that the utility is, "trying to get linemen from as far away as Texas, but it will take a while for them to get here."

As of Sunday afternoon, the county executive said the lack of electricity was the principal concern for the county, especially with the school year slated to begin Monday.

Later, at about 4:30 p.m., school officials announced officially that the start of the school year would be delayed, as some 65 school facilities were without power as of Sunday afternoon.

While the schools are a concern for county residents, BGE said it will continue to service locations that it determined before the storm would be priorities, such as emergency services, pumping stations and water treatment plants.

The schools "aren't a part of the critical facilities list," BGE spokeswoman Rachel Lighty said Sunday afternoon. "At this point, they're not considered priority."

Cleanup continuing across county

Otherwise, Kamenetz said efforts recovery efforts were going well.

County work crews were out clearing fallen trees from the road, though some crews are stuck waiting at trees with wires tangled up in them until BGE crews arrive to cut power to the area.

The county is also working to remove fallen trees on resident's properties that are located within the 10-foot right-of-way.

Across the county, Kamenetz said about 75 homes reported flooding. County firefighters are working to pump those homes out. There were also limited police activities, with "no real emergency calls" for the county police department, he said.

Adams said flooding wasn't as bad as was expected.

He said he was inDundalk with his flashlight around 5 a.m. looking for flooding, but didn't see much. He returned around 9 a.m. to make sure he hadn't missed anything, but found much less flooding than last weekend's thunderstorms brought the area.