Harford wintry mix Wednesday

Route 924 near the Bel Air Bypass was blocked for a time Wednesday afternoon, when a dump truck salting the slippery road brought down utility lines near the Harford County Detention Center. The detention center lost power for four hours. (ERIKA BUTLER | AEGIS STAFF, Homestead Publishing / December 27, 2012)

A triple threat of snow, rain and sleet made negotiating Harford County roads pretty miserable throughout Wednesday, especially during the morning commute.

More of the same could be in store for the last weekend of 2012, according to the National Weather Service.

The wet, slick roads Wednesday resulted in a number of accidents being reported around the county, including one involving a dump truck with snow plow that knocked out power to the Harford County Detention Center north of Bel Air for about four hours.

In addition, a transformer fire was reported in the vicinity of Route 24 and Colgate Drive in Forest Hill shortly after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, which in turn caused power outages in the adjoining commercial areas and in nearby neighborhoods.

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Other power outages were noted elsewhere in Harford by Baltimore Gas & Electric, as the wet weather gave way to blustery, gusting winds overnight Wednesday.

For the day after Christmas, Harford joined the rest of the region in being hit with snow that turned into a slushy, occasionally slippery mess, identified by weather forecasters as the more pleasant-sounding "wintry mix."

The gray day began with flurries and wet snow before changing over to freezing rain in many areas, complicating the post-Christmas shopping rush and making driving or walking more challenging.

A dozen accidents

By mid-afternoon, the Harford County Sheriff's Office said it handled about 12 accidents countywide since the snow started falling early in morning.

"Northern Precinct responded to 10 while Southern responded to [two]," Eddie Hopkins, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, said via e-mail. "They were all weather-related. They were all relatively minor."

Hopkins said the precipitation caused "very slippery conditions" when the snow was falling at its heaviest in areas north and west of Bel Air.

The accidents let up as the snow switched to rain, he said.

"Since the rain has started falling and the temps have risen a little, the rate of accidents has slowed considerably," he said. "There were no backups anywhere. Any roads temporarily closed due to ice or slippery conditions have since reopened."

Wires down near jail

The detention center lost power in the early afternoon after a snow plow truck ran into two utility poles on Route 924 near the entrance to the jail.

No one was injured in the incident, but Route 924 was closed during the early afternoon as wires blocked the road, Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association said on its media Facebook page.

The road was "impassable in both directions in front of the detention center, including the off ramps from the bypass," the association reported in the post.

The accident led to the afternoon's bail review hearings being canceled at the Harford County District Court in downtown Bel Air. Defendants who are having bail hearings appear via closed circuit television from the jail.

The Bel Air Volunteer Fire Co. had cleared the scene by about 1:30 p.m., but the road remained closed for clean-up, according to the Fire and EMS Association.

Hopkins, of the Sheriff's Office, said the jail complex has a standby generator and had its regular power restored by 4:30 p.m.