Maryland Hurricane Preparedness Week was last week, and the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management teamed up with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) to promote citizen awareness and preparedness. The Atlantic Hurricane season lasts from June to November. Most hurricane-like weather in Maryland is seen between mid-August and late October. Anne Arundel County’s coastlines and low lying areas put it at risk for coastal and inland flooding in addition to the strong winds and heavy rains typically associated with tropical storms. Residents of Anne Arundel County can “be weather ready” by ensuring that they know how to get a warning, have a plan, and practice safety tips.
“Safety during any type of severe weather event is imperative,” said Fire Chief Allan Graves. “Anne Arundel County’s geography makes it especially susceptible to the effects of tropical weather, from coastal flooding along the Chesapeake Bay to river flooding in the inland areas of the County. Stay tuned to radio and TV stations for official weather information and be sure to follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials.”
Anne Arundel County in conjunction with the City of Annapolis has an Emergency Mass Notification System capable of reaching thousands of residences and business in a matter of minutes. A pre-recorded message with important information can be delivered to a live person, an answering machine or TTY/TDD device.
The application, called CodeRed, is a geographical-based web application. County employees can access the system anywhere they have access to the Internet. Looking at a map of the county, staff can zoom to the area of interest and draw a polygon selecting the area to be called.
The system uses phone numbers from Verizon’s database and matches it to county structure address data. Not every residence or business may be in the system, and thus the Anne Arundel County government encourages all residents and business to register on our Community Notification Enrollment page.
“While the last two hurricane seasons have been relatively quiet, we all remember the devastation from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, especially in the New York City area and on Maryland’s lower eastern shore,” said MEMA Executive Director Clay Stamp. “It’s important for us to always be prepared because even in a quiet hurricane season, just one hurricane making landfall in our area can be devastating.”
The NWS highlights that in Maryland it is possible to see hurricanes or hurricane-like activity during the summer. “Damage to coastlines and destruction several hundred miles inland can be seen with these tropical storms,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Strong.
Residents can also take actions to remain safe by practicing the following tips:
- Stay tuned to radio and TV stations for official weather information.
- Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials.
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
- Avoid using the phone except in the case of emergencies.
- Avoid elevators
- If you live in a mobile home, plan to leave. Mobile homes are unsafe in high winds.
- Do not attempt to evacuate during the height of a hurricane. You are safer in your home than out on the road
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as for cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill a bathtub or other large container with the water. This is important for those whose water runs off of an electrical system.
Additional information regarding hurricane preparedness can be found on the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency website and MEMA’s website at mema.maryland.gov.