STEVENSVILLE - With the record-setting 2017 hurricane season still fresh in most American’s minds, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in conjunction with local emergency managers, is rolling out a new hurricane and severe weather evacuation system as a result of the Maryland hurricane evacuation study which concluded earlier this year. The study identified 3 large areas in Maryland subject to tidal flooding. Know Your Zone aims to bring awareness of the evacuation zones to the forefront of Marylanders’ summer plans and make evacuation notices easier to disseminate.
“Proper and timely messaging for evacuations saves lives,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “This new system is designed to make it easier for local emergency managers to evacuate areas by encouraging Marylanders to Know Your Zone before a storm hits.”
The first year of the program will encourage Maryland residents to know the evacuation zone of their residence, business or vacation site. The zones are designated by letters A, B and C.
Zone A areas are the most likely to be impacted by severe flooding in the event of a major storm or hurricane. In future years, the program will focus on refining evacuation routes away from the affected areas.
The three evacuation zones only affect areas subject to tidal flooding or storm surge – communities at or near the Atlantic Ocean, the Coastal Bays, and the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. That covers 16 Maryland counties along with Annapolis, Baltimore City and Ocean City.
Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services has made it easy for its residents to find their evacuation zone and host of other useful storm related information at QACDES.ORG where you will click on the Know Your Zone graphic.
“This is just another step in building a resilient County”, said QACDES Director Scott Haas. “The better we can educate the public before the disaster, the more prepared we will be to handle the disaster.” Director Haas also encourages the public to take the upcoming Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training starting July 16th in Centreville. That information is also available at QACDES.ORG.
It is important to remember Maryland can see hurricanes and impacts from a storm hundreds of miles away. Hurricanes can produce 150-plus miles per hour wind
s, tornadoes and tremendous flooding from both tidal surges as well as torrential rain
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its forecast for the upcoming season and predicted near- to above-normal activity. However, it only takes one storm hitting the mid-Atlantic area to seriously affect Maryland.
Residents can also take the following actions to remain safe:
- Build an emergency supply kit and develop a family emergency and communications plan.
- Stay tuned to trusted sources such as the National Weather Service and local broadcasters for official weather information.
- Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials, especially instructions related to evacuation.
- During severe weather, stay indoors away from windows, close all interior doors, and brace external doors. If you live near the shore or coast, expect the storm tide will inundate your home.
- Monitor NWS flood warnings for your area and be prepared to seek higher ground. Flooding is often our biggest threat.
- Fill a bathtub or other large container with water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
- Charge electronic devices before bad weather hits and consider keeping a charger in your car