The polar vortex covering most of the nation is still over the Harford County area, and while the wind has died down, it's still cold outside, prompting a late arrival at schools Wednesday and a local power company to ask customers to conserve energy.

Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for Harford County Public Schools, announced Tuesday night that due to the severe weather conditions, Harford public schools would be opening two hours late Wednesday, with no morning pre-kindergarten or preschool services.


Joppatowne High School and Fallston Middle School were closed Wednesday because of mechanical failures in the building, Kranefeld said in an email.

Joppatowne High and Fallston Middle are the second and third public schools to close in recent days because of mechanical failures. Abingdon Elementary School closed early on Monday afternoon, after school officials became aware the school house lacked heat.

There were a number of automatic fire alarms calls at Fallston Middle School dispatched by the county's 911 center.

"Fallston Middle is experiencing sprinkler issues—no fire, just malfunction," Kranefeld explained in an e-mail.

Kranefeld said repairs are being made to both Joppatowne High and Fallston Middle School. She said a determination has not been made if the two schools will re-open Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service, Aberdeen Proving Ground reported temperatures dropped to 10 degrees at 8:50 p.m. Tuesday.

Aberdeen Proving Ground reported temperatures of 7 degrees, with a dew point of 0 degrees, at 5:53 a.m. Wednesday.

Delmarva Power and PJM Interconnection, which services portions of Harford County, was appealing with the public Wednesday morning to conserve electricity.

PJM asks customers to conserve electricity, if health permits, especially from 6 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nick Morici, spokesperson for Pepco Holdings, said in a new release.

The plea for energy conservation is "prompted by continuing arctic weather across the region PJM serves that is driving electricity consumption to record levels," Morici said.

PJM set a new winter peak of 138,600 megawatts, according to Morici. One megawatt can power 1,000 homes.

PJM is asking customers to set their thermostats lower than normal, postpone using major electronic appliances and turn off lights and appliances that are not in use.

According to the National Weather Service, below freezing temperatures are expected to continue throughout Wednesday and into the evening hours, though Thursday is expected to be "warmer," with a high of 35 degrees.