Nature of things: sun, snow, water, eclipses in Harford in 2017

Harford County may be ending the year with as much snow as it got to start off 2017.

But for a few random cold days here and there, it was unusually mild winter, with a couple light snowfalls that came on Fridays and were gone in time for schools to open Monday. There was certainly nothing to compare with the 2016 blizzard and its 30 inches of snow over two days that closed down much of the county for a week.

Harford public schools used two just snow days in the 2016-17 school year, compared to as many as 10 during the previous three years.

Snow has already fallen twice as 2017 winds down, once enough to delay the start of school for two hours.

The biggest of Mother Nature's comings and goings this year was the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Thousands of people across the county stopped what they were doing for all or parts of the three hours between 1 and 4 p.m. to watch what hasn't happened in 70 years in the United States.

The sun being eclipsed by only 80 percent didn't stop Harford residents from donning their special glasses or using their pinhole cameras to get a glimpse of the moon crossing nearly directly in front of the sun.

"It's very intimidating to look at, and it's awesome — it's very beautiful," Hannah Nigrin, a Harford Community College student from Bel Air, said.

The county withstood a one-two punch near the end of July, when torrential downpours caused significant flooding on back-to-back says.

Nearly 4 inches of rain was reported near Darlington and Aberdeen, while the central part of Harford was doused with about 1.5 inches in a very short amount of time.

Bel Air was hit the hardest the next day when a man riding his bike was hit by lightning. He survived.

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