Prince Frederick, MD (September 8, 2006) On Saturday September 9, 2006 the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Calvert County Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Small Business Association (SBA) will be visiting sites where damage occurred to residences and businesses in Calvert County. The visits will start on Saturday morning and continue until all known sites have been assessed.
If damage to individual homes exceeds $219,000 the SBA will make low interest loans available to businesses and homeowners. If damage statewide exceeds $6.25 million, the state can seek a disaster declaration from FEMA, which would make federal funds available to assist in the repair of government infrastructure.
In preparation for Tropical Storm Ernesto, Calvert County Emergency Management participated with MEMA, local jurisdictions, and the National Weather Services to identify the potential effects of the storm, starting on Tuesday, August 29. The initial indication was sustained winds of 25-30 mph, rainfall between 5 and 10 inches and tidal surge of 1-2 feet. As the storm approached, the weather services reduced the rainfall predictions to 4-8 inches with tidal surge at 1/2-2 feet and sustained winds remaining at 25-30 mph.
As Friday progressed, the afternoon forecast indicated the tidal surge could be 2-4 feet and our local information from a weather station located on the platform of the Cove Point LNG facility indicated sustained winds of 45 mph, with higher gusts, and this was confirmed with National Weather Service, Sterling office, which covers our area. Trees began falling though previous weather conditions were dry, with low soil moisture and the wind speeds greatly reduced as the distance from the Bay increased.
Calvert Emergency Management utilized CodeRed, our emergency notification system, to alert County residents of the current situation and recommending evacuation of flood prone areas. CodeRed is a telephone messaging system utilized to record a message and broadcast it directly to citizen's telephones. It is a voluntary sign-up that can be accessed through the Emergency Management section of the County website, by filling out forms at many special events in the County, or by calling the Emergency Management office at 410-535-1623.
On Friday, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of Calvert County was activated in preparation for the storm. As the impact grew, appropriate agencies came together in the EOC to coordinate and direct operations. These agencies included: Emergency Management, Public Safety, Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue/EMS, Public Health and Public Works. We were in contact with the utilities (SMECO and BGE) to indicate the damage and identify the state of the electrical infrastructure.
Citizens were rescued from flood-prone areas. Shelters were opened with the help of Red Cross of Southern Maryland, Calvert County Health Dept., Calvert Dept of Social Services and the Calvert County Sheriff's Office, Animal Control Division (in case domestic pets were in need of shelter). These shelters were opened in the Central (Calvert High) and Northern (Huntingtown High) areas of the County. The Southern location at Southern Middle School was not opened due to the emergency generator having not been completed. It was scheduled to be completed this week, with testing next. As a tribute to the preparedness of our citizens, no one utilized the shelters during the storm.
On Saturday morning, September 2, Calvert Damage Assessment Teams visited 41 homes that had called 911 indicating damage due to the storm. This damage occurred in all areas of the County. On Wednesday, September 6, Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers visited flood prone areas of the County to assist in determining the extent of damage to those areas from waves, water, and wind.
If you have damage that you do not feel has been identified, please call the Calvert County Office of Emergency Management at 410-535-1600, extension 2638.
Source: Calvert County Office of Emergency Management