​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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