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Keyword: flooding

Local emergency management experts will conduct a severe storm preparedness exercise tomorrow morning, May 15, for agency representatives to Baltimore County's Emergency Operations Center. 

The exercise, hosted by the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, will pause at 10:30 a.m. for a press briefing in the EOC with County Executive Johnny Olszewski and the heads of agencies involved with emergency response. **Media should report to the Security Desk in the Historic Courthouse, 400 Washington Ave., 21204, to be escorted to the EOC.

The exercise will feature a realistic hypothetical scenario involving flooding from a Category 1 or 2 level hurricane impacting the County's coastal east side communities.

"Recent history shows that coastal areas like Bowleys Quarters, Turner Station and Miller's Island are extremely vulnerable to tropical systems affecting the mid-Atlantic. An effective response to these events requires preparation and partnership with our residents and businesses," Olszewski said.  

National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Strong is scheduled to attend the exercise and present an overview of the forecast for the 2019 Atlantic storm season. Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through November 30.

Threats to Baltimore County

Threats to Baltimore County during hurricane season include coastal flooding and storm surge, the subject of tomorrow's exercise. 

Inland communities along creeks and rivers are vulnerable to flooding during heavy rain events.

High winds with the potential to bring down power lines and trees can cause power outages anywhere in Baltimore County.

The Olszewski Administration believes it is crucial to prepare for flooding events that are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change and rising sea levels. 

Preparation and Response

Disaster response training for first responders --including swiftwater and dive teams, helicopter rescue units and other specialized units -- occurs throughout the year. Prior to an approaching storm, routine preparedness includes equipment checks and outreach to mutual aid and private partners to ensure contacts and mutual aid agreements are current.

Exercises like the one tomorrow are held several times a year in the EOC to refresh agency representatives on processes and procedures used during an activation. EOC activations occur when an emergency requires a coordinated multi-agency response.

Public education and outreach occurs continually. "Prepared, engaged residents are essential to our ability to respond to disasters," said Jay Ringgold, Director of HSEM; the greater the number of households that assemble emergency kits, secure flood insurance and plan for pets and vulnerable family members, the better the County's ability to withstand a severe weather event.

Emergency Communications Platforms

Before, during and after emergencies, Baltimore County provides information via Twitter, @BaltCoEmergency. For those who choose not to register for Twitter, posts are shared on the County's "Stormfighter" web page.

 

 

 

 

 

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​During Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week, Baltimore County Emergency Management -- along with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the  National Weather Service (NWS) -- promotes awareness of spring weather threats.

Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week is April 7 to 13.

NWS, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), uses this opportunity to emphasize that every year the mid-Atlantic region is at risk for flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail, and lightning storms. Maryland experiences severe storms regularly during the spring and is particularly at risk for flooding.

Baltimore County and nearby Howard County experienced devastating historic flooding last May.

Hailstorms and tornadoes also can occur in the region, especially in spring and summer. Nearly 100 tornadoes have occurred in Maryland over the past ten years.

Preparing for Weather Emergencies

“If you hear thunder or see lightning, try to get inside right away,” said Jay Ringgold, director of the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "When flooding occurs, never try to drive across flooded roadways. If you need to leave your shelter due to damage or an emergency, bring your emergency kit and a charged cell phone with you.”

Residents can be “weather prepared” by ensuring that they know how to receive a warning, have a plan, and practice safety tips.

“Every year, Maryland gets severe thunderstorms that target localized communities” said Christopher Strong, NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office. “If Marylanders receive National Weather Service warnings from phone apps and/or weather radio, and have a plan for what to do, they can all stay safe from damaging winds, hail, flooding, tornadoes and lightning."

Baltimore County Emergency Management works closely with NWS and MEMA to identify and monitor severe weather systems, develop preparedness plans and safety information and coordinate a response to sever storms.

Residents should take the following protective actions: 

  • During flooding, never drive over an area where water is flowing over the road and you cannot see the pavement. Turn around, don’t drown!
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued or strong winds occur, get to a sturdy shelter and stay indoors and away from windows.
  • With the right conditions, tornadoes can form rapidly. If NWS issues a tornado warning of if you see a tornado, quickly get inside and go to the lowest floor available.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck from a fringe lightning strike. More than 98 percent of lightning casualties occur outdoors. Get inside a building or vehicle, if possible.

Additional information is available through NWS's "Weather Ready" web site; MEMA; and Baltimore County's Emergency Management web site, www.baltimorecountymd.gov/emergency.

Residents can also download the Maryland Prepares mobile app .

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The U.S. Small Business Administration has made Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to certain small businesses affected by rain and flash flooding that began July 21, 2018.

This economic aid is available to small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations in Baltimore County and several other Maryland counties.

The deadline to submit completed applications is November 20, 2019.

More Information from SBA

The following is text from the SBA's news release:

“These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Pennsylvania. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East.


Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and non farm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations of all sizes and 3.61 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.


Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.


Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov.

Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
 

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017