Heavy Rains, Wind, Flooding Expected Through Thursday Evening

CALLAWAY, Md. (Sept. 29, 2010)—Weather forecasters have issued flash flood and coastal flood warnings, as well as wind advisories, around most of Maryland as a tropical depression travels up the Atlantic seaboard. Heavy rains are expected in Maryland starting Thursday morning and continuing throughout the afternoon. Other possible consequences of the storm are falling trees, extensive power outages, and possible tornadic activity.

The forecast calls for two to four inches of rain with localized amounts that could exceed six inches. Precipitation will be most intense from 2 a.m. Wednesday, September 29, through 2 p.m. Thursday. Wind gusts may reach over 55 miles per hour and there is potential for tornado-spawning thunderstorms. The region is now under a coastal flood watch and a flash flood watch, with high tides expected to be two to three feet above normal.

Governor Martin O’Malley has asked Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Richard Muth to activate the state emergency operations center (EOC) at 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve activated our Emergency Operations Center and we’re urging all Marylanders to monitor local forecasts and proceed with caution, particularly those in flood-prone areas,” said Governor O’Malley. “Weather forecasts are calling for up to five inches of rain, and perhaps more in some isolated location, in a very short time frame. That could lead to dangerous flooding conditions.”

The EOC is currently operating at level 2, with several extra MEMA staff working with the 24-hour Maryland Joint Operations Center to monitor conditions and plan for the upcoming weather. The level 3 operation, beginning tomorrow morning, will bring representatives of about a dozen agencies—mostly with first responder, transportation and public health responsibilities—into the EOC.

“We urge Maryland residents to leave extra time when heading out for work or school in the morning,” said Executive Director Muth. “Do not try to drive through standing water on roadways and please continue to monitor local weather forecasts.”

Local officials offered the following precautions:

-- In flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves.

-- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood so your evacuation routes are not cut off.

-- Do not drive into water of unknown depth.

-- Restrict children from playing in flooded areas.

-- Stay away from downed power lines.

-- Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with flood waters.

-- Secure lawn furniture and other outside objects that could become projectiles in high winds.

-- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for the latest weather forecasts.

The Coast Guard was also busy today running air patrols where crewmembers used a radio to call out a safety marine information broadcast informing boaters and vessel traffic to the dangers of the approaching Tropical Storm Nicole on international emergency channel VHF-FM 16. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircrews from Air Station Elizabeth City performed the mission.

The latest local weather conditions and forecasts are available at wx.somd.com.

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