Baltimore County's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) is preparing for severe weather now through Monday.
Emergency management officials are monitoring back-to-back weather systems expected to impact our region. The National Weather Service forecast first calls for heavy rain and winds up to 25 mph beginning Friday and possibly continuing into Saturday. This event is likely to cause flooding of inland streams and rivers, flooded roadways and some tree damage.
Beginning Sunday and lasting into Monday, Virginia and Maryland may be affected by Hurricane Joaquin, now a Category 3 storm with 126 mph winds located over the Bahamas. The storm is forecast to move up the Atlantic coast, though the exact track is uncertain at this point. Joaquin's impact on Baltimore County will depend on its track. Potential concerns include high winds that bring power outages and storm surge or high tides for coastal flooding.
"This weather event -- a major hurricane following on the heels of heavy rain -- is almost identical to scenarios we use in Emergency Operation Center exercises," said Mark Hubbard, director of HSEM.
County emergency management personnel are monitoring this weather system closely. Regular briefings with NWS and Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) officials began yesterday and will continue for the duration of these weather events.
Emergency management personnel -- who oversee a coordinated, multi-agency response to weather emergencies -- are reviewing emergency plans, staffing and equipment.
We urge citizens to stay informed by bookmarking this news blog and following our official social media channels: @BACOemergency on Twitter and our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/baltimorecountypoliceandfire. (All information about the storm will be shared with our Twitter followers of daily Police and Fire news, @BACOPoliceFire.)
These are the only sites that provide confirmed, official news from Baltimore County about this weather emergency.
Now is the time for families and individuals to prepare for power outages, flooding or other weather-related emergencies. Like emergency prepareness agencies nationwide, Baltimore County urges citizens to prepare to get along without power for three days. At minimum, your supplies should include:
- Flashlights and extra batteries.
- Water for drinking and personal hygiene (at least one gallon of drinking water per person, per day)
- Communication tools. Make sure smart phones and other electronic devices are charged, and buy a battery-powered radio.
The greatest danger during flooding events involves flooded roadways. Most flash flooding deaths occur in vehicles. Do not drive through standing water, which is strong enough to carry away a car. Do not walk through standing water.
Emergency management officials also warn that saturated soils and heavy winds can combine to pose a hazard from falling trees.
Important emergency preparedness information is available on this web site and at Ready.gov,