Storm Saturday

A worker uses a shovel to scrape mud from a parking lot in Port Deposit Saturday afternoon after the Susquehanna River receded. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Publishing / September 10, 2011)

As the flood waters from the Susquehanna River started to recede Saturday, Havre de Grace and Perryville were recovering, while Port Deposit officials were still evaluating flood damage and had not allowed residents to return to the town as of midday

The river actually reached its crest, peak stage level — 32.41 feet, at Conowingo Dam Friday at 9:15 a.m., according to flow gauge data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The peak water flow through the massive structure, which reached 778,000 cubic feet per second, was less than what dam officials and emergency officials on both sides of the river had initially expected as the Susquehanna carried off the torrents of rain from the remnants ofTropical Storm Lee.

Still, based upon historical data, the river at Conowingo Friday rose to the third highest level in the 83-year-old dam's history.

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Still, the river rose to almost nine feet above what is classified as "flood stage" and almost four feet above "major flood stage" which is 28.5 feet

Even though the worst case scenario seemed to have been avoided, parts of Harford and Cecil County were clearly suffering from the effects of the flood waters Saturday.

Wayne Tome, Port Deposit's mayor, was overwhelmed with dealing with the crisis and unavailable for comment Saturday, a town spokesperson said.

Kathy Gray, who works for the town, said a meeting between the mayor, emergency services the police department and other interested parties was scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. to determine what the next step would be for the riverside town.

"We're not letting anyone in yet," Gray said.

The town underwent mandatory evacuation Thursday, but Gray explained there are still hazardous conditions and debris that prevent residents from returning.

"Right now we're down to 30 gates [floodgates open at Conowingo Dam], so the water's starting to recede, but it hasn't receded all the way yet," Gray said.

Havre de Grace dries out

In Havre de Grace, on the Harford County shore of the river, city spokesman John Van Gilder characterized the flooding there as a typical river event.

"We're doing very, very well," he said Saturday.

Police and other emergency workers went door-to-door Thursday evening asking residents in the low lying areas of the city to leave, a "mandatory" evacuation in the words of Harford County government, but one which turned out to be more voluntary.

Late Thursday and early Friday, Baltimore Gas and Electric shut off gas and electric to certain residences and at-risk businesses for safety reasons. BFE crews were out Saturday restoring service where they could.

"BGE has been out there working tirelessly getting everybody up and running," Van Gilder said.

Van Gilder also said the flooding could have been much worse and that the city fared well, considering the amount of water that came down the river.

"We really had no damage to the infrastructure, no injuries," he said.

Harford County Emergency Manager Rick Ayers said only one street in the city was closed because of high water as of noon Saturday. Concord Street remained closed between Lafayette and Alliance Streets and between Girard and Revolution Streets.