Remnants of Florence cause mudslide, closed roads

Hurricane FlorenceThe remnants of Hurricane Florence began pushing through the Nottingham area in the wee hours on Tuesday.

Thunderstorms and heavy rains were reported in many areas overnight.

At about 3:30 a.m., the Baltimore County Fire Department reported that a vehicle had become submerged in flood waters at Pulaski Highway and Philadelphia Road in Rosedale.  The vehicle was unoccupied.

Advertisement

At about 5 a.m., the State Highway Administration reported that Route 43 had been shut down at US-1 due to a mudslide.  Other local roadways also had to be closed overnight.  They have all since been reopened.

The National Weather Service says another round of storms will likely move through the area on Tuesday afternoon.

A flash flood watch is in effect for the Nottingham area until 6 p.m.

Officials preparing for potential localized flooding from Hurricane Florence

Hurricane FlorenceAlthough the current projected track of Hurricane Florence would appear to take the storm south of the Baltimore area, County Executive Don Mohler and his top public safety and public health team gathered at Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Rescue and Marine this morning to advise residents to stay alert to possible changes and prepare in case of localized coastal and inland flooding or power outages from downed trees.

The storm is expected to stall and produce heavy rains, which could lead to some inland and coastal flooding throughout the south and possibly in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“The Memorial Day weekend flooding in Catonsville, Ellicott City, Oella and Turner Station was an unwelcome reminder of our vulnerability, and that it doesn’t take a direct hit from a hurricane to ruin homes and businesses and cause prolonged power outages and possible loss of life,” Mohler said.

Mohler reminded residents to monitor Baltimore County’s social media channels for storm-related updates.

“Providing accurate, timely information to our citizens during an emergency is a top priority for us,” he said. “During storms and other emergencies, we push out frequent updates via Twitter and on our Baltimore County Fire Department Facebook page.”

Advertisement

Baltimore County emergency managers will continue to receive regular updates throughout this weather event and will provide updates on social media as needed.

“Living in eastern Baltimore County and along the waterfront myself, I am particularly grateful to all of our career and volunteer fire service, police officers and public works staff who stand ready to jump into action if necessary to protect people if this storm should cause problems,” said Councilwoman Cathy Bevins.

Fire and Public Works Crews are Prepared and Ready to Respond

The Baltimore County Fire Department and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will continue to monitor the storm and will be prepared to respond if needed.

The Baltimore County Department of Public Works (DPW) has placed special emphasis this week on checking their equipment and clearing storm drain inlets to help reduce flooding potential. DPW warns that the saturated ground from recent rainy weather means that trees can be vulnerable to toppling from lighter winds than usual. County tree crews and contractors are ready to clear trees that may fall into roadways and the public right of way.

DPW asks residents to help by reporting any problems that may occur including blocked inlets and downed trees to the Bureau of Highways using the BaltCoGo mobile app. The app is offered free of charge to Android and iPhone users and may be downloaded from their respective app stores. Residents may also call the Bureau of Highways at 410-887-3560.

Emergency Management, MDOT prepare for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane FlorenceBaltimore County Emergency Management officials are preparing for Hurricane Florence to bring heavy rains and serious inland and/or coastal flooding to the Baltimore area.

The potential for flooding and for trees to topple and bring down power lines is greater because the ground is already saturated from months of above-average rainfall. Residents should prepare now to get along for seven days without power, said Baltimore County Fire Department Division Chief Jay Ringgold, who oversees the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“This is a serious, potentially catastrophic storm,” Ringgold said. “Don’t wait until the last minute to buy supplies and think about how you will get along if the worst happens and power goes out for an extended period. Take steps today to prepare.”

Latest from NWS

Local emergency management officials participated Tuesday morning in the National Weather Service’s telephone update on the Florence forecast.

Here is the latest from the NWS:

  • Forecasters are increasingly confident that Florence – now a Category 4 storm – will make landfall in the Carolinas, probably late Thursday. The storm is expected to be at least a Category 3 at landfall, with significant storm surge.
  • Forecasters are less certain where the storm will track and how fast it will move once it moves inland. As of Tuesday morning, forecasters expect the Baltimore area to feel the first effects from the storm late on Thursday. The NWS believes the storm will stall, dumping heavy rains. The storm’s wind speeds, once it moves inland, are difficult to predict.  The amount of wind depends on where and how quickly (or slowly) it moves.
  • Because the storm is expected to stall and produce heavy rains, inland and coastal flooding are major threats throughout the south and the Mid-Atlantic. In some areas, flooding could be historic and catastrophic.
  • The emergency situation from Hurricane Florence is exacerbated because the ground is already saturated. Trees are expected to fall, especially in areas that experience heavy wind, causing power outages and posing at threat to life and property.

Baltimore County emergency managers will continue to receive regular updates throughout this weather event.

How to Prepare

Officials say every household should prepare for this weather emergency as soon as possible.

“The exact track of a hurricane is difficult to predict the exact track of a hurricane, and we could very well find ourselves affected by dangerous flooding and strong winds later this week,” said County Executive Don Mohler. “It is imperative for each of us to think ahead and prepare to provide for the needs of our loved ones, especially the elderly, children and pets.”

Residents should consider how they will manage if the power goes out for an extended period.

Steps to take now:

  • Locate and purchase supplies. Residents need non-perishable food, a manual can opener, medications, supplies for infants and vulnerable adults, pet supplies, flashlights/batteries and a battery-powered radio.
  • Buy or store extra water – at least a gallon per person, per day, plus extra for pets.
  • Fully charge all of your electronic devices. If power goes out, use them sparingly to make them last as long as possible.
  • Get cash. ATMs will not work during a power outage, so visit one now.
  • Secure boats and outdoor furniture.
  • Plan where you will evacuate if you live in a flood-prone area and need to move to higher ground.
  • Assist vulnerable family, neighbors with storm preparations. This is critical; many vulnerable people, including older people cannot prepare by themselves.

The Baltimore County Fire Department and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management have been monitoring this storm for days and preparing for a “worst-case scenario” response. These preparations include:

Advertisement
  • Inspecting swift-water and high-water rescue equipment; pumps and other apparatus.
  • Reviewing staffing and operational plans.
  • Preparing  to open and staff the Emergency Operations Center, in case this becomes an emergency requiring a coordinated, multi-agency response.
  • Contacting our mutual aid partners in case we need additional resources.
  • Regular updates with National Weather Service regarding the forecast.

Maryland Department of Transportation

As Hurricane Florence moves closer to the east coast, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is deploying maintenance forces throughout the state to begin preparations for the storm and its impacts. MDOT SHA crews will inspect, clean and clear storm water ditches, drains and inlets to ensure adequate drainage.

Crews from MDOT SHA maintenance facilities are also evaluating all emergency response equipment such as high water signs, chain saws, chippers, loaders and grading trucks. Additionally, crews are ensuring that all generators are fully topped off and functional in case of power outages. Generators will keep maintenance shop operational, especially the fuel pumps, to keep crews in continual response mode.

Motorists are encouraged to monitor the weather conditions, and if possible, avoid driving in any hazardous conditions.

“This is a major storm system, and it will likely cause significant damage and disruption to the state highway system,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Gregory Slater. “Maryland has received above-normal rainfall throughout summer and the ground is saturated so additional rain is likely to run-off rapidly.”

Motorists are reminded to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” A majority of flood-related deaths occur in vehicles. Two feet of rapidly moving water can float a bus and six inches is capable of knocking a person off their feet. Other advice includes:

• Avoid downed or damaged power and transmission lines as these could still be live;
• Be cognizant of fallen trees or tree limbs; and
• Remain alert for wild animals, such as deer, that may flee dangerous areas and cross roadways.

In additional to high-water, the approaching storm could result in scattered power outages. MDOT SHA reminds motorists that if you encounter an intersection where traffic signals are without power, treat all directions of the intersection as a four-way stop.

SHA also advises motorists to stay aware of the forecast and, should heavy rain and high wind begin to affect the area, curtail travel as much as possible.

Governor Hogan declares State of Emergency for Hurricane Florence

State of Emergency Maryland FlorenceGovernor Larry Hogan has signed an Executive declaring a state of emergency for the state of Maryland beginning Monday, September 10, 2018 ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Florence.

The executive order will allow state officials to more efficiently coordinate support and provide assistance to local jurisdictions within Maryland and neighboring states.

“At this time, there is still some uncertainty about the track of this storm and its potential impact, but we are preparing for any possible outcome, including the potential for historic and catastrophic rainfall, life-threatening flooding, and high winds,” said Governor Hogan. “Our state is taking every precaution, and I urge Marylanders to do the same. Stay tuned to your local news stations for the latest updates, listen to state and local authorities, and most importantly, use common sense.”

Weather forecasters have indicated that there is the potential for life-threatening conditions, including catastrophic flooding as well as high winds and dangerous conditions in our waterways. Current forecasts indicate that torrential rains, tropical storm force winds, and tidal flooding/storm surge could affect Maryland as early as Thursday.

The state’s Emergency Operations Center Response Level has been elevated and center is fully staffed with emergency management personnel and state agency coordinating function representatives.

The state of emergency allows the governor to access critical resources in order to increase the state’s response, like the Maryland National Guard. It also allows Maryland to receive assistance from other states as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. This compact serves as the cornerstone of the nation’s mutual aid system and offers assistance and aid during states of emergency through member states.

“A state of emergency is a good indicator that residents should remain alert and follow officials’ orders, news stations, and weather forecasts in order to be informed of the situation,” said MEMA’s Executive Director, Russell Strickland. “We encourage all residents and visitors to our State to visit www.KnowYourZoneMD.com to see if they are inside, or, if they are traveling to, a hurricane evacuation zone,” he added.

Hurricane Florence projected path could bring storm surge to Maryland

Hurricane FlorenceMarylanders were already beginning to prepare on Monday as Hurricane Florence rapidly strengthened to a strong, category 4 storm.

Forecasters say the powerful hurricane will likely make a direct hit on the East Coast.

As of Monday morning, forecasters were predicting that Hurricane Florence would make landfall in North Carolina by Thursday.

The storm could then “stall out” which could mean catastrophic flooding for North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, while a dangerous storm surge could affect Maryland by the weekend.

Parts of the East Coast may experience flooding of “biblical proportions,” according to CBN News.

“We continue to monitor this storm as it moves toward the coast,” said Governor Larry Hogan on Monday. “Please, take this time to prepare yourself, your family, and your home.”

Residents are encouraged to monitor the Baltimore County Stormfighter website for real-time updates as the hurricane approaches the coast.

Citizens can also download the official Baltimore County mobile app for both iPhone and Android to stay informed.

Residents should also be familiar with their designated evacuation zones and download the MDMEMA hurricane evacuation guide.

Stay up-to-date on the latest Hurricane Florence data from the National Weather Service here.

Hurricane Florence Projected Path 2018

Hurricane Florence Projected Path 2018a

Hurricane Preparedness