BALTIMORE, MD—The cyclone bearing down on the mid-Atlantic states became Tropical Storm Ophelia on Friday.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is preparing for the tropical storm to impact much of the state beginning late Friday evening through Saturday. According to the latest forecast, the lower Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland counties will be most affected.
Forecasters are predicting several foot Chesapeake Bay tidal surges associated with Tropical Storm Ophelia, which will cause flooding in low-lying shore areas within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This, along with heavy rain in some areas, may cause roadway flooding. Drivers are urged to take care of any business today to safely ride the storm out on Saturday into Sunday when the storm primarily impacts the state.
State Highway Administration maintenance personnel are preparing for the potentially heavy rain by cleaning our drainage inlets, pipes, and ditches to ensure proper drainage and to reduce standing water on roadways. Additionally, State Highway Administration crews are inspecting generators to ensure proper operation, getting “High-Water” signs ready and ensuring its chainsaws are fueled, oiled and operational.
State Highway Administration maintenance crews will continue monitoring Tropical Storm Ophelia’s progress and will respond accordingly.
SHA officials are reminding motorists to avoid travel unless necessary. If you are driving during a storm, or shortly after, you may encounter a variety of dangerous situations. Motorists should use exreme caution if venturing out.
Safety tips for motorists:
- Do not try to cross a flooded roadway. Eighty percent of flood-related deaths occur in vehicles. “Turn Around. Don’t Drown.” Two feet of rapidly moving water can float a bus and six inches can knock a person off their feet;
- Avoid downed or damaged power and transmission wires and cables;
- Be cognizant of fallen trees or severely damaged brush; and
- Keep alert for wild animals, such as deer, that will be fleeing dangerous areas and crossing the roadways.
For a complete listing of highway incidents on state roads in real-time, click here. Motorists in need of roadside assistance on a state highway (numbered routes) may dial #77 on their mobile devices.