Hurricane Irene

Crews from Maryland State Police, BGE and Fallston Volunteer Fire Company work to clear Harford road at the intersection of Reckord Road in Fallston Sunday morning after a tree fell on a BGE truck as it was driving up Harford Road. No serious injuries were reported. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Homestead / August 30, 2011)

Hurricane Irene wasn't as bad at to Harford County as it could have been.

But, that doesn't mean the storm, which rolled across the county Saturday evening into Sunday morning, didn't bring plenty of misery to county residents.

From downed trees and blocked roads to power outages that climbed into the tens of thousands and which lasted for days for many, Irene left plenty to be remembered by from one end of Harford to the other.

Irene dumped about 5 inches of rain across the county, with Havre de Grace, Kingsville and Darlington all getting measured rainfall between 4.80 inches and 5.23 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.


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The highest documented wind gust in Harford was measured at 52 mph in Norrisville. Similarly, winds reached 50 mph in Edgewood, 49 in Bel Air, 45 in Joppa, 44 in Darlington, 42 in Fallston and 41 in Whiteford, according to the NWS.

There was no major flooding reported around the county and no damaging coastal storm surges such as occurred following Hurricane Isabel eight years ago.

County Executive David Craig declared a state of emergency Friday evening in anticipation of the storm. It remained in effect Tuesday, as the county continued to assess the damage to roads, bridges and structures from the high winds and heavy rains. (Please see related story Page A8.)

More than 100 county roads were closed at some point from late Saturday well into Tuesday afternoon, most because of downed trees and power lines, usually both.

The power outages, that rose to more than 50,000 homes and businesses on Sunday, made highway travel difficult because several major intersections were left without functioning traffic signals. Miraculously, no major accidents were reported from Saturday through Tuesday. (Please see related story Page 9.)

At least 20 homes and a few other buildings suffered major damage, mostly from falling trees.

In Fallston, two 100-foot trees came through the roof and back window of a home in the 2000 block of Larchmont Drive. In Aberdeen, a tree fell on a home on Maxa Road. One particular street in the Bel Air area, Forest Drive off of Route 924, had several homes damaged by falling tree limbs, a county government spokesman said.

A mobile home in Darlington burned down Sunday morning. County spokesman Ben Lloyd said the home, in the 2200 block of Castleton Road, caught fire after a tree fell on it.

No residents were injured. Two firefighters and one emergency medical technician sustained minor injuries, but were treated at the scene, Lloyd said.

The other damaged homes were not limited to any specific neighborhoods, Lloyd said.

"They were really all over," he said.

For those whose homes otherwise held up, most at some point had to live without electricity, and thousands of customers, still without power Tuesday, faced the prospect of not having electricity restored until Friday, or later.

Aggressive warning approach

Perhaps having learned from Hurricane Isabel in September 2003, which sent a 9-foot storm surge up the Chesapeake Bay into Havre de Grace, Harford County took an aggressive approach to preparing for Hurricane Irene.

Harford residents were warned of possible flooding and significant rainfall, as well as high damaging winds, as early as mid-week last week, just as they recovered from the shock of the 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia and felt all along the East Coast.

The county activated its Emergency Operations Center Friday, and it was manned throughout the storm to keep on top of any dangerous situations. Weather updates were sent out via Connect CTY to residents throughout the weekend and into Monday evening.