In visit disrupted by storm in Perry Hall, County Executive Olszewski assures residents emergency support is available

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. on Thursday planned to tour and survey damage from a microburst weather event in Perry Hall, but the weather had other plans.

Just before the damage survey was scheduled to begin, parts of Baltimore County were put under a severe thunderstorm warning, and some Baltimore County Public Schools delayed releasing elementary students. Out of an abundance of caution, county officials turned the scheduled tour into a news conference.

“We want folks to know that we're here both in response to storms and in recovery,” Olszewski said.

Assistant Fire Chief Paul Lurz said the damage in Perry Hall Wednesday was caused by a microburst, not a tornado. He said crews were working with BGE to restore electricity to as many people as quickly as possible.

More than 100 customers in Baltimore County were without power as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, according to BGE.

Olszewski said the county was responding to downed trees, inactive traffic signs and reports of damage. In emergency rebuilding situations, he said, the permits department allows individuals to get permits for home repair after starting construction, “because we know how unexpected that can be.”

“We will make sure we get out again to tour first hand. I think it's really important that we in government see and understand what people are experiencing,” Olszewski said.

The county executive, a Democrat, added that he would try and get out to survey the damage soon, when the weather was safe.

For residents of Perry Hall, County Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents the area, said the Y in Perry Hall was offering the use of its showers for anyone without hot water.

“I would like to thank the Y in Central Maryland for once again helping those in need," Marks said.

Olszewski noted that severe weather events are happening “too often and much more frequently.” He said the newly created sustainability coordinator position in the county, and $500,000 in the recently-passed county budget for climate resiliency projects, would help the county prepare for and respond to extreme weather events.

The sustainability coordinator’s job, Olszewski said, will be to think about “what are we doing to be more sustainable to support our communities when events like this invariably happen.”

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