Harford County may be out of Hurricane Joaquin's cone of uncertainty for now, but residents are still gearing up for a very wet and windy weekend.
The Darlington Apple Festival is the latest casualty of the storm's fallout, as closings and cancellations continue to pour in.
Organizers of the 29th annual festival announced Friday morning that the event, which is held rain or shine and brings thousands to the area each fall, will not take place this year.
"We are sad to announce that due to the torrential rains received over this past week, and the forecast of additional precipitation[,] the 2015 Darlington Apple Festival has been cancelled," organizers posted on their website. "Vendors will be contacted soon about refunds. We apologize for the inconvenience, and look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, Oct 1, 2016."
Meteorologists are now expecting Hurricane Joaquin to move offshore instead of directly hitting the East Coast, but more rain and high winds are still expected to affect the area.
Baltimore and parts of Baltimore County is already under a flash flood watch from 8 a.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
"At this time, the hurricane is expected to remain off-shore and pose no real threat to Harford County. However, we still expect heavy rain today and overnight from a different weather system and that may cause some flooding and power outages when the wind picks up this evening," Harford emergency manager Rick Ayers said in a recorded countywide message Friday shortly before 1:30 p.m.
Harford County's parks and recreation department is closing all natural grass fields Friday through Saturday "because of the likelihood of heavy rainfall," county government spokesperson Cindy Mumby said Friday.
Flying Point Park in Edgewood, Mariner Point Park in Joppa and Eden Mill Park in Pylesville will be closed Saturday and Sunday, Mumby said.
"It is because of their proximity to the water, and it is to be on the safe side," she said.
"We are anticipating wind and heavy rain tonight, so even though it looks like now the hurricane is expected to pass us, we do have to be mindful of the side effects of the storm," Mumby said.
She said Harford could see downed power lines and overflowing streams throughout the weekend.
"Our emergency services are continuing to monitor the situation, but it certainly doesn't look ilk as if the worst is going to happen, so we're responding accordingly," she said.
County emergency officials are urging drivers not to try to drive across flooded roadways, "be very mindful of moving water" and plan accordingly for outages, including being safe using a generator and have enough food and water.
John Carroll School tweeted that its Friday afternoon away game with Severn School was postponed until Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Players should report to John Carroll at noon.
Games go on
Other events were still pressing on. Harford Technical High School's principal Charles "Chas" Hagan tweeted at about noon: "Tonight's homecoming game and tomorrow's dance are both on!!!!!"
Joe Licata, Harford County Public Schools chief of administration, said the school system is not changing any activities, including Friday night's high school football games, except to respond to the grass field closures.
"Since the storm path and impact has changed dramatically, we will proceed with all planned weekend activities including homecoming events," Licata said via e-mail Friday morning. "The only exception is that we are canceling [parks and rec] activities on the soaked natural turf fields, but are making arrangements to move as many if those events as possible to our synthetic turf fields."
County officials are urging drivers not to try to drive across flooded roadways, "be very mindful of moving water" and plan accordingly for outages, including being safe using a generator and have enough food and water.
Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order Friday afternoon rescinding the state of emergency in eight Maryland counties but Harford was among 15 counties and Baltimore City that remained under the state of emergency until further notice. Cecil County also remained under the governor's earlier declaration.
"With the storm moving away from our coasts, we are directing state resources to the counties and areas with the highest potential to need assistance, However, the majority of the state still remains under a state of emergency and rain and wind gusts could cause power outages and flooding in low-lying areas," Hogan said in a statement released at 2:15 p.m. "We continue to encourage Marylanders to use common sense and look after family members and neighbors who might need help during this time."
Residents can go to MEMA's website, mema.maryland.gov, for more flooding and hurricane preparedness information and can follow MEMA's Twitter feed @MDMEMA and Facebook page www.facebook.com/MDMEMA for up-to-date information.
To report power outages, and find additional emergency contact information, visit http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/PowerOutages.aspx.