Harford County came out relatively unscathed from the brunt of Hurricane Irene, with no injuries, serious flooding or damage reported Sunday morning.

The storm nevertheless downed plenty of trees and wires, which left thousands without power and shut down roads.

As a result of those problems, Harford County Public Schools announced late Sunday afternoon that classes would not be held Monday, which was scheduled to be the first day of the 2011-12 school year.

"Due to county-wide damage caused by Hurricane Irene, HCPS will be closed tomorrow, Monday, August 29, 2011," the announcement read. "Employees Code Green - only those essential custodial employees should report."


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Harford County government also announced late Sunday afternoon that all county government offices will be closed Monday.

"Due to the fact that there remains widespread power outages as a result of Hurricane Irene, as well as a number of county roads that remain closed, Harford County government offices will be closed Monday, August 29, 2011," the county's announcement read. "Critical employees must report for work as scheduled. Additional information on storm recovery efforts will be forthcoming."

Despite the closures, Harford County appeared to get through the storm much better than expected.

"We were fortunate with the flooding. It wasn't an event like Hurricane Isabel, which was sort of a perfect storm," Ben Lloyd, a spokesman for Harford County government, said Sunday morning. "The way [Irene] was spinning, it sort of pushed water down the bay. Low tide was sort of at the right time."

Power problems

Power, or lack thereof, was the biggest problem, and power was going out quicker than crews could fix it.

As of 11:53 a.m., 54,701 BGE customers were without power in Harford County, with 28,530 already restored. An hour later, 59,011 customers were reporting their power was out. Then by 1:45, about 50,000 were still powerless.

As of 5:36 p.m., the BGE website was reporting 52,862 customers without power in the county and 37,827 had been restored.

BGE has almost 101,000 customers in Harford.

Outage maps on the company website showed the greatest concentrations of outages in the town of Bel Air and the cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace, but outlying areas still had their share as well.

BGE was telling customers it could be a minimum of three days before power is restored. BGE repairs main power lines and equipment first, those that restore power to the most customers at once. Then it restores individual transformers and smaller lines to individual homes and businesses, according to the BGE website.

Areas that did have power, like downtown Bel Air near Harford Mall, were bustling with activity Sunday morning.

The McDonald's at the intersection of Route 24 and Baltimore Pike was mobbed with lines to the back walls. The drive through line at Taco Bell was also long. The parking lot at Harford Mall was filling up quickly, too.

Residents without power were trying to make the best of it.

Linda Eberly and her husband, Ronald, who were without power in Street, drove to Linda's best friend's house on Winslow Court in Fountain Green. Barbara Rook didn't have power, either, but she had a generator.

Rook said that during the last big storm, Isabel, she lost power for five days, which is why she has the generator.