Severe thunderstorms rip through Harford Tuesday evening

Harford County is cleaning up from a fast-moving storm Tuesday that knocked down multiple trees and cut off power to thousands of local utility customers.

More bad weather could be heading toward the region, however, as the National Weather Service predicts a "slight chance" of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon, along with a 60 percent chance of rain Friday and a 90 percent chance of rain Saturday, according to the NWS website.


Most of the wind damage during Tuesday's storm happened in the northern part of Harford County and the Town of Bel Air. Trees fell across a number of county, state and municipal roads.

Severe thunderstorms rolled through the Bel Air area around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, and power was knocked out in some parts of town, although the rain had let up by about 6:30 p.m.


All roads were cleared by Thursday morning, according to the Harford County Government Facebook page.

Crews with BGE and Delmarva Power were still restoring power Thursday, although the majority of residential and business customers had their electricity back.

"I know that we're expecting to have all of the storm damage repaired by [Thursday] morning," BGE spokesperson Rhea Marshall said.

Marshall said 24 BGE customers in Harford did not have power, but it was not certain that the outage was related to the storm.


"If customers are still out of service, they should call BGE to make sure we're aware of their outage," she said.

Call BGE at 1-877-778-2222 or visit the utility's mobile website, bge.com, to report an outage. Delmarva Power customers should call 1-800-898-8042 or visit http://www.delmarva.com/mobileapp regarding outages.

Nearly 2,500 BGE customers lost power at the height of the storm, and about 30,000 Delmarva Power customers in Cecil and Harford counties lost power at the storm's height.

He said the "vast majority" of the outages were in Cecil.

Delmarva spokesperson Matt Likovich said 180 Harford County customers and 409 Cecil customers did not have power as of Thursday afternoon.

Delmarva officials announced in the afternoon that the "vast majority" of their customers in Delaware and Maryland should have their power back by midnight, although customers in areas where small outages have happened could be restored as late as Friday.

Gary Stockbridge, president of Delmarva Power Region, reminded customers in a news release that additional outages could be possible in the coming days if more bad weather hits.

"The additional heavy rains could cause saturated soil and vegetation to weaken tree limbs, making them susceptible to fall and disrupt service," he stated.

Mike Laslo, a spokesperson for the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association, said much of the storm damage in the northern part of the county was in Darlington, Norrisville, Pylesville and Whiteford.

"It was all trees [down], for the most part," he said.

He noted there was some damage to homes, such as a residence along Walters Mill Road, from trees falling, but no injuries reported.

Laslo said many whole trees and tree branches were across local roads. Laslo, who is also a member of the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company and a resident of Whiteford, said that "it was generators and chain saws all day long" Wednesday.

"The utility workers, they're still out [Thursday]," he said. "It appears that they're putting the final touches on repairs and restoring power."

Terry Hunt, 60, who lives in the 500 block of Wheeler School Road in Whiteford, was home with his 32-year-old son Chris Tuesday evening when they saw the storm coming in.

Hunt said that "in a matter of probably 30 seconds," the incoming storm clouds turned into what he described as a "whiteout" of wind and rain that toppled several oak trees on his property.

"The wind was howling," he said. "It was just 80 mph hurricane-force winds."

Hunt said his son saw one tree fall on the northwest side of the house, and then he and the family's two dogs headed for the basement. Hunt stayed behind, on the southeast side of the house, and he watched another oak fall and crush his son's Toyota 4Runner SUV.

The top of a third tree fell and landed on the driveway.

"The top 20 feet of it just snapped right off and came down onto the driveway," Hunt said.

Hunt said there was no damage to the house, but the electricity did not return until Thursday morning.

He spent Wednesday and Thursday clearing the trees out with help from friends and neighbors.

"All of our neighbors and friends, they all show up to lend a hand and lend equipment," he said. "When they are available they have been helping, and we have more coming for the weekend to help clean this mess up."

Two fallen trees could also be seen in Bel Air during and immediately after the storm across North Hickory Avenue, one just south of the intersection with Gordon Street and another at the intersection with Lee Street, but they have since been cleared.

Luis Rosa, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office in Sterling, Va., said 1 inch of rain fell in Bel Air, and rainfall totals were even heavier to the west and southwest, with 2.5 inches falling in the Baldwin area of eastern Baltimore County. Baldwin is just west of Fallston.

Rosa said there were reports of wind damage in Pylesville, in northern Harford, and a 58 mph wind gust was reported in Hickory.

Aegis staff member Bryna Zumer contributed to this article.

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