Looking Back at Last Month’s “Derecho”

The storm was something called a derecho, a word most had never heard before but few of us would soon forget. It came on a Friday night in late June, wreaking havoc on the region, with widespread damage in Howard County knocking power out to tens of thousands.

By Saturday morning, the clean-up began.

In our part of Howard County, Columbia Association (CA) had 12 team members from its Open Space Management Division come in over the weekend to investigate and determine the extent of the damage to CA property, according to Sean Harbaugh, the assistant director of Open Space Management.

“The Open Space team surveyed the grounds around facilities, in the open spaces and even responded to some emergency calls from residents and the county that weekend,” Harbaugh said.

CA’s expert tree contractor, Redmiles Tree Service, also worked on critical safety issues.

While the clean-up went on, CA opened its outdoor pools for free to all Howard County residents who were without electricity. On Saturday and Sunday, a total of 1,127 county residents without power came to the pools, which remained open for free to those still without electricity until the last BGE customers had their service restored on July 6.

In the first few days, the work done by CA crews included:

1) inspecting CA property and making it safe from dangerous situations, either by removing debris or barricading the property if the debris could not be immediately moved

2) using a crane to lift a tree from the Bryant Woods Pool, allowing the pool to open during one of the hottest stretches of the season — a stretch that came while many were without electricity

3) working closely with the Howard County government on a number of calls that came in from various places

4) handling hundreds of calls and emails from concerned residents regarding the storm damage

The first week of clean-up saw more than 50 Columbia Association team members working on the clean-up.

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