Maryland Emergency Management Agency
May 15-21 is Maryland Hurricane Preparedness Week
Residents Should Take Action Now to Prepare for Severe Weather
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (May 16, 2016) — Maryland Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 15-21. This week, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is teaming up with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency managers to promote citizen awareness and preparedness. Hurricanes can cause strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding. These storms occur most often in the summer and fall during the Atlantic hurricane season and have wide-ranging and severe effects.
“As we approach hurricane season, we are committed to ensuring the safety of our citizens,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Hurricane Preparedness Week is a reminder that there are steps that Maryland citizens can take now to ensure they are prepared before, during, and after a severe storm.”
“Residents should determine the risk of flooding and other hazards caused by hurricanes for their area and take action to prepare,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Know your evacuation route, assemble a disaster kit, and review your homeowners or renters insurance ahead of time. If there is a hurricane in the forecast, listen to emergency officials and keep lines of communication open with your friends, family, and neighbors.”
The NWS notes that it is not only the eastern shore of Maryland that can be affected by hurricanes. “Every part of Maryland can see devastating impacts from hurricanes. While less frequent than our southern neighbors, when hurricanes or remnants of hurricanes come through, torrential flooding rains, devastating high tides, damaging winds, and even tornadoes can be serious threats to our state,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Strong.
Residents can take the following actions now in order to prepare for hurricane season:
- Clear out rain gutters so water doesn’t back up and end up in your house.
- Around the dinner table, talk to your family about where you would meet in the event of an emergency.
- If you have pets, identify some pet-friendly hotels in case you have to evacuate.
- Program “In Case of Emergency” contacts into your phone.
- Teach friends and family members to text on their cell-phones, text messages can often get through when phone calls can’t.
- Make copies of important documents for your emergency kit. (medications, medical info, proof of address, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.) Consider putting them on a secure flash drive, as well.
- Get an extra set of house and car keys made for your emergency kit.
- Download the free MARYLAND Prepares mobile app, which includes weather and emergency alerts, at maryland.gov/Pages/mdprepares.aspx.
- Teach everyone how to turn off the utilities in your house (electricity, gas, water, etc.) so they can do it in case of an evacuation.
- Pick up canned goods when your store has a sale, they will last a long time and ensure you will have something to eat if you can’t go out to the store.
Maryland Hosts the South Korean Ministry of Public Safety and Security
First Lady Yumi Hogan, MEMA and State Officials Discuss Disaster Management and Public Safety Programs in Maryland with Korean Delegation
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (March 22, 2015) — Maryland hosted Minister In-yong Park and top officials from the South Korean Ministry of Public Safety and Security at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency today. The foreign delegation visited in order to discuss best practices in emergency management and learn about Maryland’s programs and processes for incident response, disaster recovery and other public safety topics. The delegation was welcomed by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith, MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland, Maryland Governor’s Office of Homeland Security Director Pete Landon, Maryland Governor’s Senior Advisor Clay Stamp and other state officials.
“Maryland and South Korea share a long history of friendship and cooperation based on common values and interests,” said First Lady Hogan. “Through today’s meaningful discussion of our state’s achievements in disaster management and public safety, it is my hope that our regions can continue to strengthen that relationship to ensure our citizens’ safety and well-being.”
Maryland hosts international delegations as a way to continue to improve international relations, learn from other countries and promote successful Maryland programs. MEMA regularly hosts foreign visitors to provide emergency management subject matter expertise.
“We are honored that the government of South Korea has called on the State of Maryland and members of its emergency management team to share ideas on such critical issues,” said Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith. “Maryland has a unique experience in this area and is well positioned to assist foreign delegations in protecting their citizens.”
“It is important to share successful emergency management practices with both our domestic and international counterparts,” added MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Collaboration and new ideas help build better disaster preparedness programs, which improves the safety of Marylanders.”
Spring Season Brings Chances for Hazardous Weather in Maryland
March 21-25 is Severe Storms Awareness Week
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (March 21, 2015) — Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week begins today and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is teaming up with the National Weather Service and local emergency managers to promote citizen awareness and preparedness. During spring, Maryland is at risk for heavy rainstorms, flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail and lightning. All of these hazards typically occur throughout the state every year; however, residents can “be weather prepared” by ensuring that they know how to receive warnings and practice safety tips.
“The spring brings warm weather and more time spent outdoors but this season is also the time of year when we can experience dangerous thunderstorms, flooding, and even tornadoes,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Marylanders should follow the advice of local and state officials and also use common sense when severe weather is in the forecast.”
The National Weather Service emphasizes that the mid-Atlantic region is at risk for flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail, and lightning storms every year. “Maryland experiences severe storms regularly during the spring,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Christopher Strong. “Our area is particularly at risk for damaging winds and flooding. We also see hailstorms and even tornadoes. In fact, Maryland has had nearly 100 tornadoes in the past ten years.”
The National Weather Service and MEMA work closely together and with local government agencies to identify and monitor severe weather systems, develop preparedness plans and safety information and coordinate the response to these storms.
“Severe Storms Awareness Week is a reminder that hazardous weather regularly occurs in Maryland,” said Russ Strickland, Executive Director of MEMA. “If a strong storm is in the forecast or you receive an alert or warning, first, get indoors, then, communicate with your neighbors, friends and family to make sure they’re aware of the situation and are safe.”
Residents can also take the following actions to be prepared and remain safe:
- During flooding, never enter an area where water is flowing over a road and you cannot see the pavement. Turn around, don’t drown!
- If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued or you are experiencing strong winds, get to a sturdy shelter and stay indoors away from windows.
- Tornadoes can form rapidly in the right conditions. If there is a tornado warning or you see a tornado, quickly get inside and go to the lowest floor possible.
- If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck from a fringe lightning strike. Over 98% of lightning casualties are from people outdoors—get indoors or inside your vehicle if possible.
Additional information can be found on the “Weather Ready” website at weather.gov/lwx/weatherready and the MEMA website at mema.maryland.gov. MEMA has recently posted a flooding preparedness video whiteboard video with additional tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUgsiUVQi1E and will be hosting a chat on Twitter on March 22 at 2pm EDT using the hashtag #SevereWxChat.
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (March 4, 2016) — Maryland has been informed that the state’s recent request for a major disaster declaration has been approved following the January 2016 blizzard. On February 19, Governor Larry Hogan sent a formal letter to President Barack Obama requesting a federal declaration for the State of Maryland as a result of that winter storm. By granting the declaration, federal assistance will be made available to communities in Maryland through state and local agencies and public safety partners that served them during the storm.
“I am pleased that the federal government granted my request for a disaster declaration after a historic blizzard that affected so many of us in January,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Federal aid made available to Maryland and our local communities will supplement state and local recovery efforts that have been ongoing since the storm.”
The decision for a disaster declaration comes after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and local jurisdictions throughout the state jointly conducted damage assessments last month. In addition to the state, the following local jurisdictions are included in the declaration and are eligible for aid: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Washington, and Worcester Counties and the City of Baltimore.
Governor Hogan has designated MEMA as the state coordinating agency for the declaration.
“MEMA worked closely with FEMA and local jurisdictions to assess damages and costs caused by the January winter storm,” said Executive Director Russell Strickland. “We will continue to work together to apply this federal assistance to repair damaged infrastructure and provide relief to public safety services. MEMA is committed to ensuring that state and local governments and communities are able to effectively recover from this event and that they are ready to respond to the next disaster.”
Maryland Residents Should Prepare for High Winds, Heavy Rain and Possible Tornadoes
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (February 24, 2016) — A line of severe storms are forecast to quickly travel into Maryland today. Strong thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible for parts of Maryland this afternoon. Additional threats could include damaging winds, flooding and power outages as part of this storm system.
The most severe weather is expected to occur this afternoon and evening. If a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service, residents should take appropriate actions, including sheltering in a safe place indoors on the lowest level of a building away from exterior walls and windows.
“This line of potentially dangerous storms is quickly approaching Maryland,” said Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Russell Strickland. “Residents are encouraged to follow their local weather sources in order to be aware of the hazards in the area. Make sure that your neighbors, friends, and family are also aware of the situation.”
In addition, residents should consider taking the following actions prior to and during severe storms:
- Keep communications devices charged so that you will have a way to follow weather forecasts and local emergency information.
- Stay indoors and stay away from windows and glass doors.
- During a tornado warning, if you are in a structure, go to the lowest level of the building. If there is no basement go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level away from the corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
- Know who to contact in the case of a power outage.
Residents can find additional preparedness information on MEMA’s website at mema.maryland.gov. The agency will also be posting updated information on social media. You can follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMAor on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA.
Minute-long Television and Radio Message to Occur February 24 at 2:20 P.M.
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (February 24, 2016) — Maryland will be one of twenty-two states participating in a national test of the Emergency Alert System today at 2:20 P.M. (Eastern). The messaging and style of the test will be similar to the regular monthly test message of the EAS, but, is being conducted in order to test and assess the readiness for distribution of a national-level message. Residents can expect to hear and see the following on radio and television stations this afternoon: “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”
This test is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to FEMA, “Public safety officials need to be sure that in times of an emergency or disaster they have methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public when needed. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine what improvements in technologies need to be made.”
In addition to the national test in which Maryland participated, the State conducted its regularly scheduled monthly test earlier this morning.
Governor Larry Hogan Requests Federal Disaster Declaration in Response to Historic January Winter Storm
ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 19, 2016) — Governor Larry Hogan today requested that President Barack Obama declare a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the State of Maryland as a result of the winter storm that affected the state beginning on January 22, 2016. An approved disaster declaration would bring federal assistance to communities in Maryland through state and local agencies and public safety partners that served them during the storm.
“We are requesting a disaster declaration in order to provide Maryland with all assistance available following the historic snowstorm we experienced last month,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Throughout the storm, our administration and state agencies effectively and efficiently responded and Marylanders used common sense and stayed off the roads. Now we are taking steps to recover and ensure we are ready for any future storms.”
Maryland was severely impacted by this winter storm with many areas seeing historic snowfall totals, high winds, and freezing temperatures. Governor Hogan implemented a state of emergency and government agencies coordinated public safety actions and snow removal through the State Emergency Operations Center at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
Governor Hogan designated MEMA as the state coordinating agency for the request. MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland had previously sent a letter of intent for Maryland to pursue federal disaster assistance and to request that FEMA begin the coordination for joint damage assessments. This process occurred from February 2 through 17.
“MEMA worked closely with local governments and FEMA to jointly assess damages and costs incurred and initial estimates have validated the significant impact of this storm,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland.
Tuesday Morning Commute Could be Slippery, Slow, and Dangerous
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (February 8, 2016) — Another round of snow is headed toward Maryland today. Forecasters are expecting precipitation to begin in western Maryland Monday afternoon and then head east throughout the evening. The National Weather Service is currently forecasting approximately a half foot of snow in central and northern Maryland. Western Maryland is more likely to receive additional snow totaling more than six inches while southern Maryland and the eastern shore will likely get less. Even with some uncertainty in the forecast, it is increasingly likely that Tuesday morning’s commute could be slippery, slow, and dangerous.
“With another snow system on its way to Maryland, it’s important for our citizens to remember that any amount of snow or ice on the roads can make conditions dangerous,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our agencies are busy preparing for any amount of snow that we might experience – state highway crews are pre-treating roads and will be fully ready to clear them if accumulation builds throughout the night. We are encouraging motorists to remain cautious and to use common sense if they need to travel.”
According to the National Weather Service, the location of the rain-snow line is unclear. This will dictate which areas of Maryland receive snow, rain, or a wintry mix.
“Though there is some uncertainty in the current forecast, it is important that Marylanders be aware of the incoming winter storm, follow local weather forecast offices and news, and communicate with their friends and families before, during, and after winter storms,” said Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Russell Strickland.
In addition, residents should consider taking the following actions prior to any winter storm:
- Keep communications devices charged so that you will have a way follow weather forecasts and local emergency information.
- Avoid traveling during snowstorms. If you must travel, make sure to have a car chargers, kitty litter or sand for traction, and extra drinks and snacks in case you get stuck in traffic.
- Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival times.
- Make sure pets are not kept outside without shelter in cold and snowy weather and be aware that salt and other ice melting materials may hurt animal’s paws.
- Know who to contact in the case of a power outage.
Residents can find additional winter preparedness information on MEMA’s website at mema.maryland.gov. The Agency will also be posting updated information on social media. You can follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA.
Governor Larry Hogan Ends State Of Emergency
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (January 25, 2016) — MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland has sent a letter of intent for the State of Maryland to pursue federal disaster assistance and to request that FEMA begin the coordination for joint damage assessments following the winter storm that covered Maryland in snow this past weekend. While response efforts, including snow removal, are continuing, Maryland agencies are also focusing on a comprehensive recovery effort.
“Our administration is committed to accelerating the recovery process in every way possible following this historic snowstorm,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “I have directed MEMA to work with the federal government and seek all available assistance to support our public safety partners and the communities they serve.”
Federal assistance could potentially be made available through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. MEMA will work closely with local governments and FEMA to jointly assess damages and costs incurred due to the storm.
“Reaching out to our federal partners is one step MEMA is taking as part of a comprehensive recovery effort following this unprecedented winter storm,” said MEMA Executive Director Russell Strickland. “We will also be working closely with local officials, businesses, and other State agencies to assess damages caused by the storm and decide how to move forward.”