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Storm keeps schools shut and knocks out power


Winter's icy onslaught continued to disrupt the school calendar as another storm Friday dumped more snow and freezing rain on Harford County.

Students were off Friday for the 12th day of this school year, increasing the record for weather-related lost time set the day before.

It hasn't been all fun and games for students. Some are running out of things to do and are getting bored with being at home.

Katie and Sara Sullivan of Bel Air said they were looking forward to going back to school on a regular basis.

Katie, a sophomore at John Carroll School, said that being stuck at home because it's too icy to get around was not much fun.

"I've done all my homework, and the semester just started, so there's not a lot to work on," she said. "Watching movies and talking on the phone, you can only take so much of that."

Sara, 12, is a seventh-grader at Southampton Middle School. She has earned extra money baby-sitting for friends and relatives who must work while their children are home from school.

Meanwhile, county hardware stores reported plenty of snow shovels on their shelves, but finding rock salt is another story.

"We haven't had any rock salt for a long time, but we do have some potassium chloride left, and that works better than rock salt," said Suzanne Edwards, a clerk at the Courtland Hardware store in Bel Air.

Hodges Hardware in Aberdeen sold out of rock salt and ice choppers about three weeks ago, said Melanie Webb, a clerk.

"We do have some Ice Melt for $14.50 a 50-pound bag," she said. "It's better than rock salt because, I think, it has potassium chloride in it."

Auto mechanics reported wrestling with many frozen door locks and gas cap locks, and they have had a run on wiper blades and even wiper motors.

If the defroster has not heated the windshield area sufficiently, the weight of the ice strains the wiper motor, said Armen Lalaian, the manager at the Firestone Tire and Service Center on U.S. 40 in Edgewood.

"A wiper motor can run $150 to replace," said George Donhauser, a mechanic at the Bel Air Texaco on North Bond Street. "Fortunately, we've been able to thaw out about 90 percent of them and save the motor."

The hospitals in the county, Fallston General and Harford Memorial, reported treating a rash of weather-related injuries, mostly people who have fallen on the ice.

A spokeswoman at Harford Memorial said that in the 36-hour period leading up to late Thursday, 22 patients had been treated for a variety of sprains, fractures and dislocations.

"We've had a lot, but quite honestly it's too hectic at the moment to take the time to count them all," said a spokeswoman at Fallston General.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. reported two outages affecting about 3,000 customers at noon Friday.

An underground cable at the Joppatowne substation malfunctioned and left 1,500 without power for up to five hours.

While trying to solve that problem with "some switching operations," a number of switches were frozen and snapped, said Peggy Mulloy, a BG&E; spokeswoman.

"That just complicated the matter, and we still don't know what caused the initial problem with the cable," she said.

The other Harford outage, caused by a cable problem at the Van Bibber substation, left 1,500 residents in the Edgewood area without power for 1 3/4 hours, she said.

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