CENTREVILLE - If Hurricane Sandy develops into what some are calling a potential super storm and heads for the Delmarva Peninsula, Queen Anne's County officials will be ready.
On Saturday, the county's Blackboard Connect notification system relayed a message to residents asking those who live in low-lying, flood-prone areas to consider evacuating.
"Historically, Queen Anne's County has some areas that are prone to flooding," said Kevin Aftung, chief of the Queen Anne's County Department of Emergency Services.
"We don't want to force anyone to leave at this point," he said. However, there is the potential for 6 to 12 inches of rain and three days of winds more 35 to 40 mph, he said, and "we delicately request folks to think about that before they hunker down."
Aftung said a firmer plan should be in place by Sunday morning.
Preparations were already under way early Friday to ensure everything was in place if the storm does come calling early in the week, said county spokesman Leslie Salvatori.
Officials of the Emergency Operations Center met with those from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, law enforcement officials and representatives of various county agencies Friday to go over what will be done if the storm does hit the county.
Salvatori said Friday afternoon that the Emergency Operations Center was up and running, and the citizens should be sure they have such supplies as batteries for flashlights and radios and bottled water on hand in the event there are power outages.
County officials, she said, already had been in contact with companies about removing any storm-related debris and cleaning up after the storm.
One important recommendation to residents, Salvatori said, is that citizens sign up for the Blackboard Connect system to receive both telephone and email emergency notifications. That system was used most recently on Tuesday when a propane tanker leaked on U.S. Route 50 near the Bay Bridge.
To sign up for the service, log onto www.qac.org and click on the Blackboard Connect "Sign Up Now" link on the left side of the page.
Supplies for at least two shelters that may open as the storm approaches are being laid in and potential users of those shelters are being advised to be ready.
"Bring sleeping bags, blankets and medications," Salvatori said. "The shelters can't take pets, but Animal Control will take them."
When and if shelters are opened, the information will be posted at www.qac.org. Other relevant information also will be posted.
Salvatori said the Department of Environmental Health is recommending that homeowners with wells protect their water supply from flooding by covering well heads with a five-gallon bucket held in place with a sandbag.
Another recommendation is for residents to keep tabs on weather conditions at the Bay Bridge in the event winds become strong enough to warrant any advisories, she said. Information on the Bay Bridge can be gotten by calling 1-877-BAYSPAN or by logging onto www.baybridge.com
As Friday afternoon, there was no word on how the storm might impact Queen Anne's County schools early in the week. A school system spokesperson said any relevant weather-related information would be posted atwww.qacps.schoolwires.net
The approaching storm also prompted a change in the big Sultana Projects Downrigging Weekend Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival in Chestertown.
[italic]The Kalmar Nyckel[/Italic], the state ship of Delaware, was to leave Chestertown Saturday morning to return home to Wilmington, Del., in advance of the storm, officials said.
Sultana Projects said all other festival activities will go ahead scheduled "pending further review of the weather situation."