Be Prepared: Know Your Zone, Have a Plan, Stay Informed and Have a Kit
|REISTERSTOWN, MD (May 26, 2023) — The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially starts Thursday, June 1, and the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) reminds people who live in, work in, or visit Maryland to Know Your Zone if a large storm requires evacuations from coastal and tidal areas.
Recent hurricane seasons have been unusually busy – 2020 set a record for named Atlantic Hurricanes – so it is important to Know Your Zone, and also have an emergency plan, a disaster supply kit, and multiple ways to receive warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency officials. In 2021, Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico, still managed to cause tornadoes and flooding in Maryland and dangerous flash floods in the Northeast. Last year, Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Florida.
“It takes just a single storm to change your life,” emphasized MDEM’s Secretary Russ Strickland. “Even without a direct hit, Maryland can face significant consequences from the remnants of tropical storms or hurricanes, including wind, and tidal and inland flooding. Remain vigilant to forecasts, make sure you Know Your Zone, and be prepared for the potential impacts of a storm in your area by having an emergency plan and a disaster supply kit.”
When the remnants of Ida passed over Maryland two years ago, it spawned several tornadoes, inducing one that caused substantial damage in the Annapolis area. Heavy rains also caused flash floods, inundating basement apartments at a complex in Montgomery County that led to a drowning. Farther up the coast, Ida’s heavy rains caused widespread flooding in New York City subway tunnels.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the NWS, predict near-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season predicts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season, and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
NOAA is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA has a 70% confidence in these ranges.
The Know Your Zone program allows local emergency officials to order evacuations by letter zones (A, B, and C) to more easily provide information to those in the area. To determine if you live, work, or visit an evacuation zone in Maryland, please go to KnowYourZoneMD.com and click on the “Find Your Zone” link. Type in the address of the property you are interested in and you will find out if the location is in an evacuation zone.
Please note that the zones are for evacuations from storm surge or tidal flooding along the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, the coastal bay, and ocean on the Eastern Shore. The zones do NOT apply to inland and flash floods.
Here are some additional considerations while planning for hurricanes and other hazards:
- Plan now! Do not wait until the peak of hurricane season.
- Pay attention to emergency information and alerts.
- Determine your best protection for high winds and flooding.
- Unless you live in an evacuation zone, make a plan to shelter-in-place if it is safe to do so.
- If you are in a mandatory evacuation zone, make a plan with friends or family to shelter with them where you will be safer and more comfortable.
- Check with local authorities for the latest information about public evacuation shelters.
- Only use outdoor generators that are at least 20 feet away from your home and away from windows, doors, and vents.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
For more information about hurricane preparedness, including sample emergency plans and supply kit information, please visit MDEM, FEMA, the National Weather Service, and the American Red Cross.
To receive text alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards that may affect Maryland, text “MdReady” to 211-631, or text “MdListo” to receive alerts in Spanish. Marylanders also are encouraged to install the MdReady WebApp, which gives instant access to a wide array of emergency notifications and preparedness information to residents and visitors alike. To install the new WebApp, users can visit MdReady.maryland.gov and follow the prompt to easily add the MdReady shortcut to a mobile device home screen, or to sign up for text alerts in English or Spanish.
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