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Maryland Department of Emergency Management

March 19-25 is Severe Storms Awareness Week

Spring Season Brings Chances for Hazardous Weather in Maryland

March 19-25 is Severe Storms Awareness Week

Snow may still be on the ground in many parts of Maryland, but now is the time to begin thinking about the upcoming severe storms season. Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week begins Sunday, March 19, 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; however, residents can “be weather prepared” by ensuring that they know how to receive warnings and practice safety tips.

“Spring is the time of year when we can experience dangerous thunderstorms, flooding, and even tornadoes,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Maryland residents should follow the advice of local and state officials and use common sense when severe weather is in the forecast.”

The National Weather Service agrees with that assessment. “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 10 years.”

The National Weather Service and MEMA work closely together and with local emergency managers and other 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 chance to think about the hazardous weather that regularly occurs in Maryland,” said Russ Strickland, Executive Director of MEMA. “Plan now for what you or your family should do in case of a severe weather alert or warning — get indoors to a safe space, then, communicate with your neighbors, friends and family to make sure they’re aware of the situation and are safe.”

Now is the time for residents to prepare for severe storms by taking the following actions:

  • 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. More than 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 and the MEMA website at