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Life returns nearly to normal in Harford Saturday as Joaquin keeps moving east

Traffic flows normally on Main Street in downtown Bel Air late Saturday morning. The weather was cool and cloudy gray in Harford County Saturday, but there was no hint of Hurricane Joaquin and minimal impact from all the rain dumped by a weekend nor'easter.
Traffic flows normally on Main Street in downtown Bel Air late Saturday morning. The weather was cool and cloudy gray in Harford County Saturday, but there was no hint of Hurricane Joaquin and minimal impact from all the rain dumped by a weekend nor'easter. (DAVID ANDERSON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

Harford County was spared from any major impacts from Hurricane Joaquin Friday and Saturday as the storm continued moving further out to sea.

The weather in Bel Air on Saturday was cloudy gray and breezy with temperatures in the 50s, following a night and early morning of steady rain.

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Harford officials were preparing for the worst earlier in the week as a combination of a local rain system and Joaquin promised to drop up to 10 to 15 inches of rain in the area.

Heavy rains dropped 1 to 6 inches on different parts of the county earlier in the week, and about 1 to 1.5 inches fell Friday, National Weather Service meteorologist Luis Rosa said Saturday afternoon.

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County Executive Barry Glassman had been holding daily conference calls with various county departments and allied agencies as they prepared for the storm, but the last call was Friday, county government spokesperson Cindy Mumby said.

"Because of the change in the forecast we're no longer doing that, and we're really back to normal operations in terms of emergency services," she said Saturday.

Joaquin, a Category 4 storm, pounded the Bahamas and moved north and east toward Bermuda. The hurricane could arrive in Bermuda Monday morning and then move to the northeast Monday night and Tuesday, Rosa said Saturday afternoon.

"The next 24 hours, you're just going to see a light drizzle. He said "points south of Baltimore" could see tidal flooding during the next 24 to 36 hours, but Harford County is expected to avoid flooding.

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Windy weather is also expected for the upper Chesapeake Bay region with gusts up to 30 mph Saturday and Sunday, Rosa said.

"Late Sunday there could be breaks in the clouds, then [from] Monday on we should start seeing plenty of sunshine," he said.

Rich Gardiner, spokesperson for the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association, said there had been "no serious incidents of any nature, rain or not," as of Saturday afternoon.

The county announced on its Facebook page Friday afternoon that parks along major waterways were closed for the weekend, including Flying Point Park in Joppatowne, Mariner Point Park in Edgewood and Eden Mill Nature Center along Deer Creek in Pylesville. Weekend activities scheduled for Harford County Parks and Recreation natural grass fields were canceled, too.

Mumby said the parks would remain closed through the weekend "out of an abundance of caution."

"We're not going to make a change at this point," she said. "The plan now is for opening on Monday, business as usual, with the understanding that weather is unpredictable."

The annual Darlington Apple Festival, an event that is usually held rain or shine, was canceled for Saturday because of the earlier forecasts for heavy rain.

AppleFestival organizers kept patrons and vendors up to date through their Facebook page. Baked goods such as pies and apple dumplings that had been slated for sale at the festival were being sold at area churches and stores, according to a post on Saturday morning.

Sales at the Crock-A-Doodle Doo Country Shop on Shuresville Road in Darlington were "pretty good" Saturday, according to owner DeAnna MacKnight.

She said she shop normally does well during the Apple Festival, which brings 35,000 to 50,000 people to the area.

"We're staying positive and just doing the best we can," MacKnight said.

She said the shop will stay open until 6 p.m. Saturday in the hope of bringing in some additional sales.

Shops and restaurants were open in downtown Bel Air late Saturday morning, and pedestrians were out in the breezy, chilly weather with jackets, long pants and knit caps.

Richard Anderson, owner of the new One Eleven Main restaurant, and his son David were preparing for a "soft opening" of the restaurant Saturday evening.

They plan to open to the public at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Richard Anderson said.

"The only thing that I was concerned about with the storm was losing power," he said.

Anderson said a loss of power could mean losing all refrigerated food.

He said the rain did not affect the interior of the restaurant, which is opening in the former Little N.Y. Deli's storefront in the 100 block of South Main Street, but it did slow down some exterior construction work in the rear of the building.

"We dodged a bullet with the storm," Anderson said.

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