CAMBRIDGE — The National Hurricane Center elevated Dorchester County to a tropical storm warning Thursday, Sept. 5, with the threat from Hurricane Dorian approaching the Eastern Shore.
At 5 p.m. Thursday evening, Hurricane Dorian's eye was 45 miles south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and 85 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, N.C., while maintaining a category 2 status with maximum sustained winds at 105 mph. The storm is moving at northeast at 10 miles per hour.
Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties join Dorchester on the Shore in the tropical storm warning area. These areas could see sustained wind speeds between 39 and 73 mph.
Rain is predicted to begin early Friday morning and last throughout the day. Areas north and west of Dorchester County are expected to received less of an impact from the storm. Dorchester County could see 1 to 2 inches of rain, with areas north and west to get less rain.
“We should expect rain, wind and minor to moderate flooding, especially in the south county,” the Dorchester County Department Emergency Services said Thursday afternoon. “Certainly, as tomorrow approaches, those traveling should be mindful of ponding on roadways. Please take the time to secure any outside items that may blow away or become loose as the winds increase.”
According to the National Weather Services, the storm surge is expected to lead to minor to moderate tidal flooring, particularly along the Chesapeake Bay and the shoreline. The storm will leave residual water in the ay and along the coast, which will pose a threat for coastal and tidal flooding. The system is expected to move away by Friday evening.
“The Talbot County Operations Center will be continuing communication and coordination with the weather services and other emergency management partners,” Talbot County Public Safety Director and Chairman of the Maryland EMS Board Clay Stamp said Thursday afternoon. “We will issue updated information and are poised to issue alerts if necessary. Finally, although our area in not included in the tropical storm warning, people in the Bay Hundred, Oxford and other areas prone to tidal flooding should pay close attention to the weather information and any alerts.”
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency published a map for state flood zones at www.knowyourzonemd.com.
The zones are A, B, C and X. An A-rated zone is consider a high-risk area with a 1% chance of flooding annually and a 26% chance over a 30-year period, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Zones B and C are considered low risk and have a less than 1% chances of flooding. Zone X is the area not in a flood zone.
Zone A includes directly along the Choptank River from Caroline County to the north, all the way to west of Cambridge. Locations from downtown Cambridge, excluding the waterfront, to Linkwood along U.S. Route 50 are not in a flood zone. Just south of Cambridge and east of Maple Dam Road is in Zone C.
The Neck District, Taylors Island, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, south Vienna and Hoopers Island are in Zone A. Vienna is in Zone B.
In Talbot County, Oxford and west of the Tred Avon River is in Zone A. Between the Easton Bypass and the Tred Avon and Miles Rivers is in Zone C.
In Queen Anne’s County, all of Kent Island is in Zone A with the western part of Grasonville also in Zone A. Other parts of Grasonville is in Zone B before going to Zone C near Queenstown and Wye Mills.
Rock Hall and Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge in Kent County are in Zone A. East of Rock Hall to Chestertown is in Zone B. All areas along the Chester River are in Zone B.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration prepared Thursday for potential flooding along areas of Maryland’s Eastern Shore from remnants of the hurricane.
High tides and storm surge, along with tropical storm force winds are likely to impact low-lying areas of the Shore and Southern Maryland, SHA officials said.
SHA crews were out proactively inspecting and, if necessary, clearing drainage inlets, storm drains and drainage ditches. Additionally, crews were checking that generators are operational and fully fueled and that road closed signs, chain saws and wood chippers are topped off and ready for rapid deployment.
SHA offers the following tips to keep in mind during heavy rain storms:
• “Turn Around-Don’t Drown” — it only takes a few inches of water to cause a vehicle to move;
• Plan for extra travel time as some roads may flood and be temporarily closed;
• Never attempt to remove a fallen tree from the roadway, especially if there are electrical wires tangled in the branches;
• Should an intersection loose power and traffic signals become non-operational, treat all approaches of the intersection as a two or four-way stop;
• Be aware of flood prone areas and avoid those routes;
• Please don’t litter. Trash clogs storm drain systems and impacts highway drainage;
• Remember state law requires the use of headlights when windshield wipers are being used; and
• Get the latest real-time traffic information at md511.maryland.gov.