Most power has been restored in Harford

Harford County appears to have escaped the worst from the violent thunderstorms that swept across the Baltimore region late Friday and early Saturday, downing trees and utility lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power.

More trouble could be brewing before or during Wednesday's daylong and evening July 4 celebration in Bel Air. The National Weather Service website Tuesday afternoon was reporting a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms during the day, with a high near 92 degrees. The chance of precipitation falls to 20 percent during the evening hours Wednesday.

The storm was also blamed on three deaths in Maryland, according to The Baltimore Sun. As of Tuesday afternoon, Baltimore Gas & Electric was still reporting 152,000 customers in the greater Baltimore area did not have electric power, many of them in their fourth day without service. BGE, which has 1.24 million customers, had restored power to more than 528,000 customers during the same period, according to the company's website.

In Harford County, just 347 BGE customers were without power at 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to the company's website, which said 17,255 Harford customers had been restored since the storm. The latter number was considerably higher than the 9,400 customers who were either without power or had been restored as of mid-Saturday afternoon.

Delmarva Power, which has 5,000 electricity customers in Harford County and another 44,000 throughout Cecil County, referred to the storm in a news release by the meteorological term "derecho, a widespread and violent straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms." Straight-line winds are strong winds that blow without rotational direction and are usually associated with storms in the Midwest. The winds are considered dangerous and potentially destructive because they blow at a high velocity for a sustained period, even though they don't have the rotational force of a tornado.

The power outages that remained in Harford Tuesday were scattered. The greatest concentration was in the southern part of the county around Joppa, Edgewood and lower Abingdon.

County government spokesperson Bob Thomas had said Monday there were still areas throughout Harford County without power, most going on 48 hours without service. At that point, BGE was reporting 1,600 Harford customers lacked power, still far fewer than other counties in the region.

"We still have areas in Harford County, some in Havre de Grace, some in the Joppa-Magnolia area that are without power," Thomas said.

At the height of the storm, Thomas said, about 10,000 homes and businesses lost power in Harford County. By Saturday that number was down to approximately 5,500 people and by Sunday at noon, Thomas said, there were 3,000 to 3,200 people still without power.

One area still affected early Monday was Route 40 between Aberdeen and Joppa, where Maryland State Police warned shortly before 1 a.m. that a number of traffic lights were out at major intersections, mostly in Edgewood.

Just after 7 a.m. Monday, however, Bel Air Barrack Commander Lt. Charles Moore said in an e-mail that all the signals is question had become operational.

"Funny thing is, no real signs of terrible damage like Irene or Tropical Storm Lee," Thomas wrote in a later e-mail Tuesday afternoon. "Power outages everywhere in the Joppa, Joppatowne, Magnolia area. A couple of tree trimming companies were busy cutting down broken limbs and branches. Didn't see any trees in buildings like the tornado [in Fallston] 30 days before."

"Wild month for weather," he added.

Delmarva Power's website reported at 2:30 p.m. Saturday that just 157 of the company's 5,000 customers in northeastern Harford County experienced outages; however, some 5,000 of Delmarva's 44,000 Cecil County customers lost power, most of them located south of I-95.

The company said in a news release late Monday that it had restored power to 97 percent of its customers in Maryland and Delaware. As of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Delmarva's website reported zero Harford County customers without power and 44 Cecil County customers without power.

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