Three people died, one while shoveling, in Harford County during Saturday's blizzard, according to a Harford County spokeswoman, as the snow piled up throughout the day, creating treacherous conditions.
One person died from a heart attack while shoveling snow in Abingdon, according to Cindy Mumby, Director of Governmental and Community Relations for Harford County. Neither of the other two deaths, one in Aberdeen early in the day and the other in Bel Air, have been connected to the storm, according to Mumby. The cause of the death in Aberdeen had not been determined, Mumby said.
The death of a third person was reported in Bel Air around 4:20 p.m. Saturday. Mumby said the person died from cardiac arrest, but emergency officials do not suspect the death was related to the weather.
The Bel Air Police Department is investigating and Detective Sgt. Jim Lockard, the Bel Air Police spokesman, described the victim as a white male around 23 years old, who was found at his residence in the 500 block of East Broadway.
In that Saturday afternoon update of conditions in Harford County, Mumby said EMS responders helped three others, one in the Kingsville-Joppa area and another in Abingdon, who suffered nonfatal cardiac arrests. The third person initially reported symptoms of a heart attack, but EMS workers determined the person was suffering from another medical issue. That issue was unknown as of Saturday, according to Mumby.
She said county officials urge residents "to be very careful" when shoveling snow.
"It literally is heavy lifting when shoveling snow," Mumby said. "No matter what kind of shape you're in, it's important to avoid over-exertion."
Mumby advised people to take frequent breaks, keep themselves hydrated and to pace themselves when shoveling,
The storm, which started late Friday afternoon, had dumped 16 to 19 inches around the county as of 2 p.m. Saturday, and the National Weather Service told Harford officials to expect another 8 to 12 inches by the time the snow tapers off around 10 p.m., Mumby said.
She encouraged the public to "understand this is a blizzard; the snow is still coming down."
Harford County public works crews started plowing locally-maintained roads at 5 a.m. Saturday, and they are scheduled to work through 11 p.m., then return to the roads early Sunday morning, Mumby said.
Mumby said crews made a "first pass" on about 70 percent of county roads as of late afternoon.
"Stay off the roads," she advised residents. "Conditions are just treacherous, they're whiteout conditions."
BGE reported few power outages during the day, but county officials remain concerned going into Saturday night, as winds are expected to bring gusts of up to 50 mph, Mumby said.
She said the county is working with organizations that employ "essential personnel" such as hospitals, law enforcement and fire companies, to get those people dug out and on their way to work, but she stressed people should stay off the roads unless it is a necessity to go out.
"We are stressing to citizens, please stay off the roads for their own safety and also for the safety of first responders and folks who have to be out in these conditions," Mumby said. "Please stay home, help keep yourself safe and help keep your neighbors safe."
The county's Snow Plow Tracker is available online at http://apps.harfordcountymd.gov/SnowPlowTracker. Report any infrastructure issues, such as blocked roads, online at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/1737/You-Click-We-Fix, which also is a downloadable mobile app, or report non-emergency issues by phone at 410-838-5800.