High winds, rain hit Harford and leave residents in the dark

Strong winds knocked over trees and left thousands of residents in the dark as a regional storm system, which threatened to spur tornadoes and forced Harford County Public Schools to cancel all after-school activities, passed through Harford County Tuesday afternoon.

The county, along with the rest of the region, was placed under a tornado watch until 7 p.m. Tuesday, as well as a flash flood watch and a severe thunderstorm warning for much of the day.

BGE reported roughly 4,000 Harford customers without power after a powerful thunderstorm passed through between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The central part of the county was heavily affected by flooding, county government spokesman Bob Thomas said.

"Portions of [Route] 924 were completely covered with water at least four inches high," Thomas wrote in an e-mail Tuesday afternoon. "Some trees were uprooted in the Bel Air area."

As of about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, Thomas said he had received no words of any serious accidents, but said the "possibility exists for standing water in low-lying areas of the county for the next 10 [to] 12 hours."

All after-school and evening activities for Harford County Public Schools were canceled and Harford Community College closed at 4 p.m. for the rest of the evening.

Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour were reported around the region by the National Weather Service.

Many of the outages appeared to be in the southern part of the county, around the Route 40 and Kingsville area on the Baltimore County line.

A number of Harford residents reported on Facebook there were downed trees and power outages.

Russell Strickland, the county's new emergency operations director, who was spending just his second day on the job Tuesday, said "nothing major" had been reported from the afternoon storm passing through and he expected the worst of it was over.

With strong storms, rain and wind being forecast throughout Maryland Tuesday, especially in the late afternoon and evening, the National Weather Service announced a tornado watch at about 11 a.m. that would be in effect until 7 p.m.

The National Weather Service predicted about an inch of rain for Tuesday.

A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms and multiple tornadoes in and close to the watch area.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted by spotters or indicated on radar and is occurring or imminent in the warning area. If a tornado warning is issued, people in the affected area are strongly encouraged to take cover immediately.

Tuesday's watch included 12 counties in Maryland and 22 in Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bay area also had a coastal flood advisory until 6 p.m. and a coastal flood warning from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. Wednesday.

A gale warning was in effect through early evening Tuesday for the waters.

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