Maryland “Know Your Zone” Hurricane Preparedness Campaign Enters Year Two
Program Aimed to Ease Evacuation in Areas Subject to Tidal Floods, Surge
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (June 6, 2019) — If you live, work, or vacation in areas of Maryland subject to tidal flooding or storm surge from a hurricane, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) wants you to Know Your Zone. The state’s hurricane evacuation plan last year transitioned to a zone-based program to allow local emergency managers to more easily message evacuation requests to residents and visitors.
The new evacuation zones were a result of the Maryland Hurricane Evacuation Study which concluded last 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.
“Everyone in Maryland should be proactive and prepared this hurricane season. Please take a minute to Know Your Zone,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “We have worked hand-in-hand with local and federal partners using the best tools, which were not available 3 years ago, in order to determine these zones and streamline a potential evacuation.”
Residents of and visitors to Maryland are encouraged to visit the interactive Know Your Zone web page, www.KnowYourZoneMd.com, where they can learn more about the project. On that page, users can type in an address and quickly find out what zone, if any, their property is located in.
The zones affect every county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, plus counties along the western coast of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal areas of the Potomac River south of Washington, D.C. That covers 16 Maryland counties along with the City of Annapolis, Baltimore City, and Ocean City. But residents from other parts of Maryland should know the zones if they travel to affected areas for work, vacation, or to visit friends and relatives.
The zones are designated by the 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.
“Studies show that timely messaging for evacuations saves lives,” said Strickland. “This system will make it easier and safer for local emergency managers to manage a potential evacuation, but only if you Know Your Zone before a storm hits.”
While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recently released 2019 forecast predicts a near-normal season, it only takes one storm hitting the mid-Atlantic area to seriously affect Maryland. If local officials feel an evacuation is needed to protect lives, they will issue the order by zones instead of having to define specific geographic areas. This program is similar to one rolled out two years ago in neighboring Virginia.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to November. Hurricanes can cause strong winds, heavy rain, inland flooding and other severe weather, but residents in Maryland can be prepared by ensuring they know how to receive a warning, have a plan, practice safety tips, and Know Your Zone.
Maryland can feel the impacts from a storm or a named hurricane hundreds of miles away. Hurricanes can produce 150-plus miles per hour winds, tornadoes, and tremendous flooding from both tidal surges and torrential rain.
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.
- Flooding is often our biggest threat. Monitor NWS flood warnings for your area and be prepared to seek higher ground.
- Fill a bathtub or other large containers 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.
Additional preparedness information can be found on MEMA’s website at mema.maryland.gov, our Twitter feed, our Facebook page, our LinkedIn page, and our YouTube site. Residents can also download the free MARYLAND Prepares mobile app at mema.maryland.gov/Pages/mdprepares.aspx.
NOTE TO MEDIA: MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland and other key staff members are available for interviews about hurricane and emergency preparedness.
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