UPDATED(5:11p.m.)—Two days after Hurricane Irene blew through Maryland, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said the recovery effort continues to focus on removing fallen trees and restoring power to neighborhoods.
And late Monday afternoon, Baltimore County Public Schools officials announced they were delaying the opening of school one more day.
Kamenetz Monday was displeased to hear that BGE officials said many Baltimore County customers may be without power until Friday.
"Obviously, I'm not happy about that but it's something that is out of my control," Kamenetz said of the projected Friday timeline.
The county executive said he's working with Gov. Martin O'Malley to "keep pressure on (BGE) to get as many linemen in town to reconnect the public speedily."
The Democratic county executive made his comments in an interview following a tour of eastern Baltimore County communities Monday morning.
"It seems to be the same issues—what to do with downed trees and those who are still without electricity," Kamenetz said.
Kamenetz said the county is working on a plan to provide trash bins that he said would give community associations some flexibility in removing storm debris.
The issue of power outages is somewhat more vexing, he said.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, BGE reported nearly 333,000 customers were without power. More than 102,000 of those were in Baltimore County.
BGE announced Monday morning that it had restored service to 50 percent of the customers who lost power.
The other 50 percent could expect to be back on by Sept. 2. But some customers might be affected by scattered outages through Saturday Sept. 3.
On Monday afternoon, the company that supplies electricity to 1.2 million customers in Baltimore City and County and seven other jurisdictions, said it would have more detailed estimates on when customers would be returned to service.
That's news to Daphne Vasold, who is one of several dozen residents on who still have no power.
Vasold, via text message Monday morning, said she has not been able to reach BGE officials about inspecting lines knocked down by trees along her street. The fallen lines caused a fire Saturday night during the storm.
Vasold said she worries the lines might still be energized and pose a safety issue.
Linda Foy, a spokeswoman for BGE, said in an email that she did not have information about the downed lines on Myamby but if neighbors reported it "they do not have to report it again."
"Public safety issues such as downed wires are always a priority for us," Foy wrote. We have more than 5,000 reports of downed wires across our service area and are responding to them as quickly as we possibly can.
"We are getting to these locations as quickly as possible," she wrote.
Foy reminded customers to not approach downed wires even if they do not appear to be sparking because they can still be energized and dangerous.
Councilman David Marks, who represents the Myamby Road area, said Monday morning that he was speaking to BGE about addressing the downed lines, which he said "is a legitimate safety concern."
Foy also said BGE is working to restore power to the large number of inoperable traffic signals around the area.
"Traffic lights are also a priority for us and are being worked as part of our overall strategy to address public safety and critical infrastructure issues first," Foy wrote.
Richard Muth, director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency reminded the public Monday to treat all inoperable traffic signals as stop signs.
Muth said during a Monday afternoon conference call with reporters that state law enforcement agencies and MEMA were planning to meet to discuss how to handle the situation.
"A lot of these are handled on the local level and the problem is there are so many that they can't (all) be covered," Muth said.
Police officers were stationed at intersections around the county Monday to help deal with some of those traffic safety issues, Kamenetz said.
Nearly 90 roads were closed Monday afternoon as a result of downed trees and power lines.
There have been no reports of increased vehicular accidents despite numerous eyewitness reports of drivers ignoring the inoperable signals, Kamenetz said.
The power company will not distribute ice as it did in 2003 after Tropical Storm Isabel hit the area.
"Following Hurriane Isabel in 2003, we discontinued distributing dry ice which was a very labor and time intensive process," Foy wrote. "The resources previously used for dry ice packaging and distribution are best used for actual storm restoration work."
Monday afternoon, the county released a list of ice vendors:
- Capital Carbonic. Sells dry ice only, available to the general public, 410-566-0853, 404 South Caton Ave., Baltimore, MD 21229
- AAA Ice. Sells wet & dry ice, available to the general public. 410-426-1204, 6100 Belair Rd., Baltimore, MD 21206.
- Airgas East. Sells dry ice only, available to the general public 410-768-4447, 7504 Connelly Drive, Hanover, MD 21076.
The county executive said the county will continue to update recovery efforts via its website.