Traffic management in light of the power outages was a challenge for everyone, Ayres said.

"We didn't have enough law enforcement officers to put at all those intersections," he said, explaining that one of his messages reminded drivers to treat a dark traffic light as a four-way stop.

"One of the complaints we were getting was that people weren't stopping at those intersections. They were just driving straight through them," he added.

The EOC also worked with power companies to make restoration of major traffic signals a priority, Ayres said.


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"I think we prepared very well for it and I think Harford County made out really well [in the storm]. It's only a couple days after the hurricane and we pretty much have Harford County up and running back to normal," Ayers said.

County forces mobilized

At least 500 county personnel from various departments were also on duty, with highways employees getting ready as early as Thursday, Oct. 25, four days before the worst of the storm hit Harford, county government spokesman Bob Thomas said.

Most of those employees were from the public works department, and the divisions of highways and water and sewer, but other departments involved included community services, human resources, risk management, administration, licensing, inspection and permits, and law.

Thomas said late last week there are no estimates yet of how much overtime was worked or how much the storm cost Harford County in general.

"On Monday [Oct. 29], when the storm was really upon Harford County, we pulled our highways personnel off the road shortly before 9 o'clock at night because it was just too hazardous. We had wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour, driving rain," Thomas said. "They were back on the roads early on Tuesday, but Monday night, it was such that we had to pull them off the road. That has actually happened before; that has happened in snowstorms as well."

"The real challenge is, you are trying your best to keep the roads open but you are dealing with 60 and 70 mile-per-hour winds, driving rain, for an extended period of time, up to 48 hours," he said. "Most storms that travel through Harford County are one-day events. This began raining in the county on Sunday and we had remnants of the storm through Wednesday morning."

Regarding managing power outages, Thomas said "there was a huge issue of concern, particularly for law enforcement, because you have limited resources."

Thomas said one of the greatest frustrations was getting "perhaps a dozen" calls from residents who wanted the county to do more to restore power.

"No county government has any authority over BGE or any utility company. We cannot direct them to work in certain areas; we can only make requests," he said. "It is foolish for citizens to call the county executive and believe that he has more influence on BGE than any other elected official."