After a nearly two-week long heat wave, Harford County is finally getting a break from the high temperatures, which state health officials say contributed locally to the death of a Pennsylvania man Saturday.
There have been 13 heat-related deaths in the state, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, one of whom, was a Pennsylvania man, over the age of 65, who died in Harford County. Susan Kelly, the Harford County Health Officer, said Monday that he had underlying health conditions. She could not provide additional details, such as where in the county the man died.
A high temperature of 104 degrees in Bel Air Saturday was recorded by The Weather Channel's website http://www.weather.com, which is what the National Weather Service recorded for the Baltimore region at BWI Marshall Airport.
Sunday, however, http://www.weather.com reported a high in Bel Air of just 93 degrees, while the NWS reported a high of 100 at BWI Marshall.
The National Weather Service is forecasting highs in the low 80s for most of this week, offering a break from recent high temperatures. At 4:30 p.m. Monday, the Bel Air temperature was 84 degrees, according to http://www.weather.com.
The heat over the weekend again led Harford County to open cooling centers in library branches Saturday and at volunteer fire company stations in Bel Air and Abingdon on Sunday, following procedures it began almost two weeks earlier.
County government spokesman Bob Thomas said Monday afternoon that county agencies are compiling information about their outreach efforts during the heat wave and in the aftermath of the severe thunderstorms on June 29 that left many people across the county without power.
Several county agencies worked together during the high temperatures including the Department of Community Services, Office on Aging, which contacted 75 at-risk elderly to check in and visited 35 frail elderly people at their homes, according to a county news release.
The Alliance Homeless Outreach team checked in with approximately 25 homeless people throughout the county and one person was transported to a local hospital because of a possible heat stroke, according to the release.
In addition, the disaster assistance coordinator screened calls through the 9-1-1 center and helped a woman, who had health issues, and her daughter and another woman with eight children who did not have power connect with housing and food in the community.
The Harford County Emergency Management staff also went door-to-door throughout the county to check on people without power.
Overall, the Harford County Division of Emergency Operations dispatched 20 calls for possible heat-related issues, according to the release.
Some Harford residents were not only dealing with the high temperatures over the weekend, but were still doing so without any electricity since the storm more than a week earlier.
One of them, John Battista, said he and his family, who live off of Mountain Road in Joppa, lost power Friday, June 29, between 11 and 11:30 the night of the thunderstorms and did not get it back until this past Saturday, when Battista said an out-of-state company came to the rescue.
There are just 18 homes in his neighborhood and all are on the same grid, Battista said Monday, which he believes is why Baltimore Gas and Electric did not make them a priority.
"It seemed like BGE was just busy doing other things," he said. "We were at the bottom of the totem pole."
Although he ran a generator to keep his refrigerator and freezer working, Battista said he eventually had to throw out $500 worth of groceries. This wasn't the only inconvenience from the loss of power, he added.
Because their home is on a well, no power meant no water, Battista continued, so to avoid being in a home without any air conditioning or running water, the family stayed in five different places, with either friends or relatives, while the power outage persisted.
Power was restored Saturday, Battista said, only after a neighbor saw the out-of-state electric company doing line work in the area for BGE and asked them to help. Within 10 minutes, they had power and, according to contractor, there were no problems with the line and they just needed to "throw the switch."
Had there been a tree down or another issue, Battista said, he would have understood the delay, but not when it ended up being such a simple fix. He said he is concerned what might have happened had the other company not helped.
"If the [out of town] company didn't come to our rescue, we're not sure we'd have power right now," he said.
Another Harford County resident, Carolyn Dickerson, shared last week that her house had been without power for several days.
Her power was eventually restored early Saturday morning, around 4, Dickerson said Tuesday. Two BGE trucks came out that morning at 1 to restore power and returned that afternoon for a follow-up check.
Last Friday, Dickerson said Harford County Emergency Operations Manager Rick Ayers also stopped by the neighborhood and talked to people without power.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the BGE website outages map showed 9 customers in Harford County without power.