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Baltimore County News

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Date: Jun 20, 2017

by Steve Walsh, Director, Baltimore County Department of Public Works 

We’ve been lucky so far, with several minor hurricane seasons in a row and a mild winter in 2017. But we can’t depend on luck. The Baltimore County Department of Public Works is prepared for whatever nature throws at us.

According to NOAA, the Atlantic hurricane season has begun and we can expect, on average, three major hurricanes to hit our coast and 12 tropical storms.

If they reach Baltimore County, we know what to do.

Our first order of business is to keep the roads open – to clear debris and trees. Public Works crews fix roads and bridges, clear storm drains, and make sure that the roads are safe. We have a fleet of trucks that can manage community clean-up after a significant storm and our Solid Waste Management command staff is certified in debris management.

We don’t limit ourselves to storm clean up. We try to stay ahead of the game. We have installed backup generators or alternate electrical feeds to all of our major pumping stations. Many now have water-tight doors and some have even been elevated above the flood plain level. 

We have roll-offs and dumpsters in reserve if storm debris mounts, and our debris management team will designate refuse collection centers if necessary.

The County’s traffic signals are being equipped with battery backups – 70 percent of the traffic signals already can function when the power is down. This is crucial for keeping traffic flowing after the storm is over and everyone gets back to business.

We’re learning every year to be better, more efficient and anticipate the consequences of a major storm. In the event of a hurricane, residents can report problems to our new Stormfighter online reporting tool. 

We’re Prepared – How About You?

We encourage people to have a personal emergency plan and to prepare to get through three days without power. Stock up on water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries and back-up sources for electronic devices like cell phones. Prepare in advance for medical and prescription needs and for pet care. Before a storm is forecast, we strongly advise that you check to see if you need flood insurance. More information about storm preparedness can be found on the County website at

If we do face a serious storm, you can go to the County’s Emergency Management Twitter feed, @BACOemergency, for updates on storm response, sheltering operations, and more.

Revised September 11, 2017