The spring storm that pushed through Harford County April 30 dumped from five to nine inches of rain, leaving some people stranded on the roofs of cars on flooded roads, others knee deep in water in their basements and farmers needing to replant washed out crops.

Harford County emergency officials called it "the worst storm event" in months, even worse than the winter snowstorms, as county personnel worked overtime hours to deal with numerous emergencies during and after the storm.

Some effects continue to be felt more than a week later.

ServPro of Harford County, a Joppa-based private damage restoration company, received 300 calls for request for service during the storm, Operations Manager Lou Otremba said Thursday.


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Many residents experienced several inches of water in their basements from flooding and sump pump failures, Otremba said.

Damage 'really intense'

The small business, of 10 full-time production employees, typically services about 10 water damages per week, he said.

"The damage to our county was really intense," Otremba said. "In a hurricane you lose power, that's predictable, but this is the first time in a long time sump pumps couldn't keep up."

The Harford area has seen quite a few water damage related storms lately, Otremba said, referring to the polar vortex, which hit the area last winter and caused considerable water damage from burst pipes.

Otremba said the average cost of a water damage claim can run upward of $5,000, not including replacing furniture, drywall and other repairs. If a furnace is damaged by high water in a basement, the tab can be much higher.

Kathy Polley, business developer at Service Masters of Bel Air, a family-owned damage restoration company, said clients they are servicing had from 18 inches to as much as five feet of water in their homes from the storm.

"It's a peril of nature," Polley said. "Our grounds just couldn't hold all this water."

She said the majority of their claims are coming from the Bel Air, Abingdon and Edgewood areas. She said Darlington and Street also had some sporadic reports of flooded basements.

Polley said most people in the area do not have flood insurance, just sewer and drain back-up insurance. She said some insurance companies are approving the claims, as sewer and drain back-ups from sump pump malfunctions, but some are being marked as floods.

Spring planting delays

Mike Doran, president of the Harford County Farm Bureau, said the heavy rain caused some minor damage at farms around the county, mostly in the form of washouts causing ditches and gullies in fields.

"The biggest things it did was just back us up a little bit with spring planting and getting into the fields," Doran said.

From the beginning of spring through mid-May, Doran said, farmers have a small window to plant their spring crops, particularly corn and soybeans, the county's two top cash crops.

"The rain backed up low lying fields up to a week and there is more rain on the horizon," Doran said Wednesday afternoon.

Doran said he received some reports of corn and hay seeds being washed away.