REISTERSTOWN —The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) encourages all residents to monitor Hurricane Isaias and make plans now in case the storm impacts the Mid-Atlantic region.
According to a news release, forecasters remain uncertain about the exact track of the storm, but some models show it will affect parts of Maryland as soon as Monday evening, Aug. 3 as it moves northward.
The range of hazards that could affect Maryland is still broad — ranging from little impact, to Isaias bringing flooding rains and tropical storm force winds to central and eastern Maryland, the release states.
“Now is the time to make sure you are ready for possible effects from Hurricane Isaias,” said Russ Strickland, MEMA executive director. “The COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of complexity during a tropical storm or hurricane, and that means there may be changes to normal evacuation and sheltering plans,” he added.
MEMA also reminds Maryland residents to make sure emergency kits include at least two face coverings for each person, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and other COVID-19 related supplies in addition to the usual disaster supply kit components.
During the COVID-19 pandemic it’s more important than ever to pay attention to the hazards of hurricane season, the release states.
As a resident or visitor to Maryland, you should "Know Your Zone" to see if the places you live, work or visit are in one of the state’s three evacuation zones. The "Know Your Zone" program allows local emergency officials to order evacuations by letter zones (A, B and C).
To learn more about Know Your Zone or to see if you might be in an evacuation zone, visit mema.maryland.gov/action/Pages/know-your-zone-md.aspx.
Remember that even if you are not in one of the Maryland evacuation zones, you could still feel the effects of hurricanes and other hazards, the release states. Hurricanes can spawn flash floods, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes many miles away from the eye of the storm and 100 miles or more inland.
Here are some additional considerations while planning for hurricanes and other hazards during the COVID-19 pandemic:
• If you must evacuate, bring items such as hand sanitizer, cleaning materials, and two cloth face coverings per person. Children under 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who cannot take the cloth face covering off without help should not wear cloth face coverings.
• Pay attention to emergency information and alerts from official sources.
• Determine your best protection for high winds and flooding.
• Keep in mind that your best protection from the effects of a hurricane may differ from your best protection from disease.
• Unless you live in an evacuation zone, make a plan to shelter-in-place in your home, if it is safe to do so.
• Check with local authorities for the latest information about public evacuation shelters.
• Only use generators outdoors and never in a garage. The generator should be at least 20 feet away from your home and away from windows, doors and vents.
• Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters.
It is also important to allow extra time to evacuate because shelters might be farther away.
As always, residents are better off locating shelter with family or friends outside the expected danger zone or staying at an accommodation of their choice. But state, local and nonprofit partners will still provide shelter options, according to the release.
Locally, the Town of Rock Hall has postponed its utilities board and workshop meetings scheduled for Monday night, Aug. 3 due to "the need for planning and preparations for impending Tropical Storm Isaias," the town's website reads.
Kent County Public Schools issued a notice that due to the weather forecast, the summer food program will not be providing meals Tuesday, Aug. 4. The meal program is expected to resume the following day, according to the alert.
For more information about hurricane preparedness, visit MEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross.
To receive alerts, tips and resources related to COVID-19 and other threats and hazards affecting or that may affect Maryland during this hurricane season and beyond, text “MdReady” to 898211.