Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: emergency management

Officials Advise Residents to Plan for Possible Flooding and Power Outages


Although the current track of Hurricane Florence appears to be headed far south of our area, Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler and his top public safety and public health team gathered at Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Rescue and Marine this morning to advise residents to stay alert to possible changes and prepare in case of localized coastal and inland flooding or power outages from downed trees. The storm is expected to stall and produce heavy rains, which could lead to some inland and coastal flooding throughout the south and possibly in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“The Memorial Day weekend flooding in Catonsville, Ellicott City, Oella and Turner Station was an unwelcome reminder of our vulnerability, and that it doesn’t take a direct hit from a hurricane to ruin homes and businesses and cause prolonged power outages and possible loss of life,” Mohler said.

Mohler reminded residents to watch the County’s social media channels for storm-related updates. “Providing accurate, timely information to our citizens during an emergency is a top priority for us,” he said. “During storms and other emergencies, we push out frequent updates via Twitter @BaltCoemergency and on our Baltimore County Fire Department Facebook page.” Baltimore County emergency managers will continue to receive regular updates throughout this weather event and will provide updates on social media as needed.

“Living in eastern Baltimore County and along the waterfront myself, I am particularly grateful to all of our career and volunteer fire service, police officers and public works staff who stand ready to jump into action if necessary to protect people if this storm should cause problems,” said 6th District County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins.

Fire and Public Works Crews are Prepared and Ready to Respond

The Baltimore County Fire Department and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management continue monitoring the storm and preparing to respond as needed. These preparations include:

  • Inspecting swiftwater and high-water rescue equipment; pumps and other apparatus.
  • Reviewing staffing and operational plans.
  • Preparing to open and staff the Emergency Operations Center, in case this becomes an emergency requiring a coordinated, multi-agency response.
  • Contacting our mutual aid partners in case we need additional resources.
  • Regular updates with National Weather Service regarding the forecast.

The Baltimore County Department of Public Works (DPW) has placed special emphasis this week on checking their equipment and clearing storm drain inlets to help reduce flooding potential. DPW warns that the saturated ground from recent rainy weather means that trees can be vulnerable to toppling from lighter winds than usual. County tree crews and contractors are ready to clear trees that may fall into roadways and the public right of way.

DPW asks residents to help by reporting any problems that may occur including blocked inlets and downed trees to the Bureau of Highways using the BaltCoGo mobile app. The app is offered free of charge to Android and iPhone users and may be downloaded from their respective app stores. Residents may also call the Bureau of Highways at 410-887-3560.

Flooded basement issues can be reported to 911, so they can be evaluated for fire risks on a case by case basis. The County asks homeowners take steps to prevent problems, or reduce their impact, by clearing downspouts and basement stairwells.

Preparation is Key for Residents

Every household should prepare for this and other possible weather emergencies, considering how thay will manage if the power goes out for an extended period. Steps to take now:

  • Locate and purchase supplies. You need non-perishable food, a manual can opener, medications, supplies for infants and vulnerable adults, pet supplies, flashlights/batteries and a battery-powered radio.
  • Buy or store extra water -- at least a gallon per person, per day, plus extra for pets.
  • Fully charge all your electric devices. If power goes out, use them sparingly to make them last as long as possible.
  • Get cash. ATMs will not work during a power outage.
  • Secure boats and outdoor furniture.
  • Plan where you will evacuate if you live in a flood-prone area and need to move to higher ground.
  • Assist vulnerable family and neighbors with storm preparations. This is critical; many vulnerable people, including older people cannot prepare by themselves.
  • Stay informed about the track of this storm. Follow weather forecasts and our social media posts, @BaltCoEmergency on Twitter and @BaltCoFire on Facebook.

Flash Flood Watch Issued for County, More Rain Forecast Through Weekend

Baltimore County is asking residents and business owners to use the following phone numbers in case of flood emergency:

Medical or life-threatening emergency        Call 911

Flooded basement                                       Call 911

Emergency shelter and food                       410-887-2222

Sewer, road or tree issues                           410-887-3560

Storm recovery and road closure information will be updated on the County’s web site, baltimorecountymd.gov or on Twitter at BACOemergency.

“With more rain forecast through the weekend, we’re hoping for the best, but are planning for the worst. Our department of public works crews and fire and police responders are ready to assist with whatever Mother Nature throws us. We encourage neighbors to continue to check in on their neighbors,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler.

Additional Flood Risks

 A National Weather Service (NWS) flash flood watch is in effect through late this evening. The NWS bulletin says, "Numerous showers and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rainfall are expected to approach the region this afternoon and continue past midnight. Localized rainfall amounts of two to four inches are expected."

The "torrential" rainfall is likely to cause rapid rises of creeks and streams, causing them to spill beyond their banks, NWS said. Low spots along roadways may become impassible due to accumulating runoff. Flash flooding may develop quickly.

Flooding, especially flash flooding, is one of the deadliest natural disasters. Most fatalities occur when motorists and passengers are washed away in their vehicles.

Information on how to prepare before, during and after a flood can be found on the Baltimore County website.

“Safety is our first concern,” said Baltimore County Fire Department Division Chief Jay Ringgold, who oversees Emergency Management. “We strongly urge residents to stay away from creeks and streams, and never attempt to drive through floodwaters.”

Curbside Removal of Storm Debris

As previously announced, the County is providing curbside pick-up of storm debris from homes in the areas most severely affected by flooding.

The Baltimore County Bureau of Highways will provide curbside pickup upon request of residents in the greater Catonsville and Oella areas and the Turner Station neighborhood in Dundalk. Residents may call 410-887-3560 to request this service, which is available through Friday, June 8.

The County is also providing a temporary debris drop-off center at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Center and Park, located at 300 Oella Avenue, Catonsville, MD 21228, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., every day through Friday, June 8.

In addition, residents can deliver debris to the County’s drop-off centers located in Halethorpe, Cockeysville and White Marsh.

Storm Damage and Operations Summary

Four roads in the southwest portion of Baltimore County remain closed and County engineers are evaluating conditions. Closed roads include Old Frederick Road, River Road, Westchester Avenue and Thistle Road. Public Works officials expect these roads to remain closed for an extended period.

County public works and fire crews responded to more than 400 homes with flooded basements to assist with pump-outs. Fire crews performed dozens of significant water rescues and have responded to hundreds of calls for service since Sunday. Baltimore County Fire personnel also continue to provide mutual aid to Howard County, including search and rescue operations support.

One home in the Catonsville area was ruled uninhabitable by County inspectors. Catonsville Elementary School experienced minor flooding, but opened on time May 29.

Homeowners who have suffered damage are advised to contact their insurance companies immediately.

County Invites Stories of Neighbors Helping Neighbors

During difficult times, people often need an extra helping hand, and others are willing to jump in and offer assistance. County Executive Mohler invites people to share stories about acts of kindness in the community, using the hashtag #BaltCoNeighborsCare.

“We would love for people to share their thanks for a neighbor who helped them clean their basement, or maybe a stranger who stepped in to help in a moment of need related to the storm,” Mohler said.

These stories will be shared and/or retweeted on Baltimore County Government’s social media pages.


Officials Detail Storm Damage and Response Efforts

In the wake of Sunday’s severe storm and flooding, Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler announced that the County will provide curbside pick-up of storm debris from homes in the areas most severely affected by flooding.

“We understand that this unexpected storm has created major disruptions in localized areas in the County,” Mohler said. “Our crews have been working around the clock since Sunday afternoon. We are making extra resources available to help residents recover.”

Curbside Removal of Storm Debris

Mohler announced that the Baltimore County Bureau of Highways will provide curbside pickup beginning tomorrow, May 30, upon request of residents in the greater Catonsville and Oella areas and the Turner Station neighborhood in Dundalk. Residents may call 410-887-3560 to request this service, which will be made available through Friday, June 8.

The County is also providing a temporary debris drop-off center at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Center and Park, located at 300 Oella Avenue, Catonsville, MD 21228, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., every day, beginning Wednesday, May 30 through Friday, June 8.

In addition, residents may deliver debris to the County’s drop-off centers located in Halethorpe, Cockeysville and White Marsh.

Storm Damage and Operations Summary

County public works and fire crews responded to more than 400 homes with flooded basements to assist with pump-outs. Fire crews performed dozens of significant water rescues and have responded to hundreds of calls for service since Sunday. Baltimore County Fire personnel also continue to provide mutual aid to Howard County, including search and rescue operations support.

One home in the Catonsville area was ruled uninhabitable by County inspectors. Catonsville Elementary School experienced minor flooding, but opened on time this morning.

Homeowners who have suffered damage are advised to contact their insurance companies immediately.

Four roads in the southwest portion of Baltimore County remain closed and County engineers are evaluating conditions. Closed roads include Old Frederick Road, River Road, Westchester Avenue and Thistle Road. Public Works officials expect these roads to remain closed for an extended period.

Storm recovery information will be updated on the County’s web site, baltimorecountymd.gov or on Twitter at BACOemergency.

County Invites Stories of Neighbors Helping Neighbors

During difficult times, people often need an extra helping hand, and others are willing to jump in and offer assistance. County Executive Mohler invites people to share stories about acts of kindness in the community, using the hashtag #BaltCoNeighborsCare.

“We would love for people to share their thanks for a neighbor who helped them clean their basement, or maybe a stranger who stepped in to help in a moment of need related to the storm,” Mohler said.

These stories will be shared and/or retweeted on Baltimore County Government’s social media pages.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017