NAS Patuxent River Increases Readiness Condition in Preparation of Hurricane Florence
Naval Air Station Patuxent River has set Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR) III in preparation of Hurricane Florence. TCCOR III means destructive winds associated with a tropical system are possible in the NAS Patuxent River area of responsibility within 48 hours.
Florence is expected to strengthen to 150 miles-per-hour just prior to landfall somewhere on the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic Coast the night of Thursday, Sept. 13. Although the storm is not expected to hit Southern Maryland directly, there will be an increased amount of rain, with an estimated 8- to 10-inches expected in the next seven days.
Hurricane Florence might pose a danger to personnel, structures, and other resources, and there is no substitute for advance planning and preparation. NAS Patuxent River encourages everyone to prepare for possible power outages, impassable roads and downed trees. For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit www.ready.navy.mil/be_informed/natural_hazards/hurricane_typhoon.html. For updates regarding NAS Patuxent River, follow the installation social media feeds at www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver, www.twitter.com/NASPaxRiverPAO.
Calvert County Board of County Commissioners Declares State of Emergency for Calvert County
The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners has declared a state of emergency for Calvert County due the potential severe rain, tidal surges and flooding as a result of Hurricane Florence. Declaring a state of emergency is a proactive measure to ensure resources are mobilized in the case of a catastrophic event. The Calvert County Department of Public Safety is currently tracking the path of the hurricane, but the direction and impact of the storm is still uncertain.
To stay informed about local conditions and emergency information, residents are encouraged to sign up for Calvert County ALERT. To sign up, visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov and click on the Emergency Alerts button. Residents are also encouraged to "like" the county's Facebook page or download the free "Prepare Me Calvert" emergency preparedness mobile application available for iOS (Apple) and Android devices. Those without internet can contact the Calvert County Division of Emergency Management at 410-535-1600, ext. 2638, to sign up or for additional emergency preparedness information.
Calvert County Urges Preparations for Predicted Heavy Rainfall
The Calvert County Department of Public Safety is urging county residents to be prepared for the potential for coastal and inland flooding. The county is making sand and sand bags available for residents who need them to protect property. Up to 10 sand bags per vehicle may be picked up today, Tuesday, Sept. 11 through Wednesday, Sept. 12 from 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. at the following locations:
• Appeal Salt Dome, 401 Sweetwater Road, Lusby
• Stafford Road Salt Dome, 335 Stafford Road, Barstow
• Mt. Hope Community Center, 104 Pushaw Station Road, Sunderland
Residents are encouraged to bring their own bags and shovels. County staff will be available to assist those in need during this time. After Wednesday, sand and sand bags will continue to be available at the Stafford Road Salt Dome location only from 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., but county staff will not be on site to assist due to weather-related events.
Well Water Advisory in Case of Storm Surge
In the event of a storm surge from the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Florence, residents and businesses who obtain drinking water from an individual well that is not protected by a flood proof cap, are advised to disinfect their wells if they know or suspect that flood waters have entered and contaminated their systems.
The St. Mary's County Health Department (SMCHD) urges residents to use bottled water or an alternative safe source until disinfection and follow-up testing is complete. If residents do not have access to bottled water or an alternative source, their well water should be boiled for 3-5 minutes in a clean container before use.
"People who obtain their water from an individual well should disinfect the well and distribution system if floodwaters reached and entered the well casing. In order to safeguard public health and personal well being, it is best to use a safe source until disinfection is complete and testing shows the water to be safe," said Daryl Calvano, Environmental Health Services Director at SMCHD.
Please contact SMCHD's Environmental Health Services division at (301) 475-4321 with questions on water testing and well safety.
Portable Generator Safety
During the upcoming severe weather State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci is reminding the Citizens of Maryland to take care in the use of portable generators. Many people use portable generators during power outages. The most common risks of using the generators are carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shock, electrocution and fires.
NEVER use portable generators inside a home, garage or shed. USE the GENERATOR OUTSIDE ONLY. Carbon monoxide from portable generators is poisonous and can kill in just minutes. Therefore, make sure you have CO detectors properly installed in your home and that they are working.
While in operation, portable generators should be in a well ventilated area away from all doors, windows and vent openings. Whether your garage is attached or detached to the house, do not use the generator inside. Opening the garage door is not an option. Never refuel the generator while it is in use and before refueling, make sure it has cooled. Make sure fuel is stored in the proper approved container and that the container is stored outside of all living areas.
*Information contributed by Consumer Product Safety Commission and National Fire Protection Association.
Metcom Advises Customers to Prepare for Hurricane Florence
Residents should be prepared for disruptions in utility service as part of any hurricane or severe weather event. As Southern Maryland prepares for Hurricane Florence, the St. Mary's County Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) encourages all customers to prepare an emergency water supply and to consider taking the following actions to prevent damage and flooding of the wastewater systems:
PLEASE MINIMIZE WATER USE DURING AND AFTER THE STORM AND TURN IRRIGATION SYSTEMS OFF. This will reduce demand on the drinking-water system, which will help if there is damage to the water or the piping distribution system. It will also reduce the volume of wastewater entering the pumping stations and wastewater pipes, both of which will be strained during flooding.
Recommend storing at least 1 week supply of water for each member of your household (1 gallon per person per day). Boiling water is the safest way to purify water. Know how to purify water. Follow the local Health Department guidelines. Another alternative: use water purification tablets as directed. Store water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. You can also freeze water in plastic jugs or store water in your bathtub. Before a storm makes landfall, fill bathtubs with water to use for bathing and washing dishes. Thoroughly clean, rinse and wipe with bleach. Fill the tub to the upper drain. Additional notes are shown below:
• Your hot water heater is another source of usable water.
• If you evacuate, turn off the water supply to your home by closing the shut-off valve.
• If you see a broken pipe with running water, avoid contact with the water and report it to MetCom at 301.373.5305.
• Be careful not to stack debris near water meters, fire hydrants, or valves, which can cause damage during County debris removal operations, resulting in water leaks.
• Citizens with private wells are encouraged to discontinue use of their water if the top of the well becomes submerged in flood waters, and contact the St. Mary's County Health Department at 301.475.4321 for guidance on disinfecting their well.
• If water service has been disrupted, water pressure within your home will drop until no water will come from the tap and toilets will not refill after flushing.
• If the water distribution system loses all pressure, a precautionary boil water notice will be in effect until the water lines are cleared and water quality is tested and found safe to drink per Maryland Department of the Environment guidelines. This may take several days or more following the storm event to restore service depending on the severity of the damage.
• This also applies to those returning from shelter until such clearance that tap water is safe to drink is issued by the Health Department.
WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES MAY LIMIT OUR ABILITY TO PUMP SEWAGE. PLEASE LIMIT TOILET FLUSHING AND OTHER ACTIVITIES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO SEWER FLOWS DURING AND AFTER THE STORM.
If power goes off at your home, please conserve your water usage (ie. try not to use toilets), especially if your property is equipped with a sewage grinder pump as it will stop working. It is normal for the sewage grinder pump to make an audible alarm for several minutes once electrical power is restored. This is normal, however please contact MetCom at 301.373.5305 if the alarm continues. Avoid calling MetCom about the alarms until you have allowed the above to take place.
Recommend keeping 5-gallon buckets, with tight fitting lids for use as emergency toilets. Buckets can be lined with a thick plastic trash bag liner; add a disinfectant and/or deodorizer to the bucket to prevent microorganism growth and odor. Do not allow the bucket to become more than ¼ full before removing and replacing with a new liner and deodorizer. Keep the storage container in a cool, dark place until proper disposal service is available. If indoor toilet facilities become available, they may be used in much the same way as the 5-gallon bucket. Turn off the water to the toilet, drain the water from the bowl, and use a trash bag as a liner. Additional notes are shown below:
• If your basement or yard is equipped with a sewer drain access, make sure that your building sewer drain access cap is not broken and it is securely tightened; never remove this cap.
• Never pump flood water into the sewer system, or connect building or roof drains to the sewer system.
• If your property is equipped with a sewage grinder pump, make sure the pump vault lid is not ajar.
• If you see a broken pipe with running sewage, avoid contact and report it to the MetCom at 301.373.5305.
• If sewer service has been disrupted, toilets and drains will not function.
• If the sewer system is damaged as a result of the storm, it may take several days or more following the storm event to restore service depending on the severity of the damage.
MDOT SHA Prepares For Hurricane Florence
As Hurricane Florence moves closer to the east coast, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is deploying maintenance forces throughout the state to begin preparations for the storm and its impacts. MDOT SHA crews will inspect, clean and clear storm water ditches, drains and inlets to ensure adequate drainage.
Crews from MDOT SHA maintenance facilities are also evaluating all emergency response equipment such as high water signs, chain saws, chippers, loaders and grading trucks. Additionally, crews are ensuring that all generators are fully topped off and functional in case of power outages. Generators will keep maintenance shop operational, especially the fuel pumps, to keep crews in continual response mode.
Motorists are encouraged to monitor the weather conditions, and if possible, avoid driving in any hazardous conditions.
"This is a major storm system, and it will likely cause significant damage and disruption to the state highway system," said MDOT SHA Administrator Gregory Slater. "Maryland has received above-normal rainfall throughout summer and the ground is saturated so additional rain is likely to run-off rapidly."
Motorists are reminded to "Turn Around, Don't Drown." A majority of flood-related deaths occur in vehicles. Two feet of rapidly moving water can float a bus and six inches is capable of knocking a person off their feet. Other advice includes:
• Avoid downed or damaged power and transmission lines as these could still be live;
• Be cognizant of fallen trees or tree limbs; and
• Remain alert for wild animals, such as deer, that may flee dangerous areas and cross roadways.
In additional to high-water, the approaching storm could result in scattered power outages. MDOT SHA reminds motorists that if you encounter an intersection where traffic signals are without power, treat all directions of the intersection as a four-way stop.
SHA also advises motorists to stay aware of the forecast and, should heavy rain and high wind begin to affect the area, curtail travel as much as possible. Click here for information about flooded roads.
Drivers are encouraged to get the latest information by logging onto www.md511.org. The site provides real-time information about road closures and provides access to live traffic cameras. It is also recommended that citizens follow MDOT SHA on Facebook at Maryland State Highway Administration and Twitter @MDSHA.
Sandbags Available for St. Mary's Citizens
The St. Mary's County Department of Public Works and Transportation advises citizens sandbags will be available for distribution at the six (6) convenience centers for citizens wishing to prepare for possible flooding conditions due to Hurricane Florence.
Sandbags will be distributed on Tuesday, September 11 and Wednesday, September 12. Sandbags will be available while supplies last at the following locations:
• Charlotte Hall—37766 New Market Turner Road
• Oakville—26630 North Sandgates Road
• Clements—24547 Horseshoe Road
• St. Andrews—44595 St. Andrews Church Road
• Valley Lee—45350 Happyland Road
• Ridge—13939 Point Lookout Road
Convenience Center hours will be as follows:
• Tuesday, September 11—9:30 a.m.—7 p.m.
• Wednesday, September 12—9:30 a.m.—7 p.m.
Citizens are reminded this is a self-serve process and staff will be on-site to monitor, but will have limited availability to assist in the filling or loading of sandbags. Sandbags are not pre-filled and each individual will be limited to between 10 and 25 sandbags while supplies last.
Sandbags provide limited protection and are intended to redirect small storm water and debris flows away from structures. It is suggested that residents lay a plastic sheet between the building and the bags to control the flow and prevent water from seeping into the door or window wells. Generally, the placement of bags is stacked up to three layers with each bag being tamped into place.
When sandbags are not available, residents are asked to use local soil or other containers (i.e. small plastic grocery bags and pillow cases). Once used, homeowners should empty the material in the bags into their yards and then properly discard the bags.
Prepare for Hurricane-Related Outages
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is monitoring weather forecasts as Hurricane Florence heads towards the eastern seaboard. With the potential impact of heavy rains and high winds facing Southern Maryland, area residents are urged to take steps to prepare for possible hurricane-related power outages.
According to SMECO spokesperson Tom Dennison, "SMECO is tracking the weather system and personnel are preparing to respond to outages that may result from falling trees and flooding. With the ground already saturated from recent rainfall, the likelihood that trees will fall on power lines is increased." Dennison added, "Even though nearly all of our customer-members now have smart meters, we ask that they report their outage if they lose power. Customers can call 1-877-74-SMECO (1-877-747-6326). They can also go online to our website, www.smeco.coop, or use SMECO's text messaging service. We recently upgraded the SMECO 24/7 free mobile app with additional features, and we encourage customers to download the app or register for the texting service before bad weather hits." Customer-members can get more information about the app and text messaging service on SMECO's website at smeco.coop/SMECO247.
SMECO's outage restoration policy is to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time. Transmission lines and substations are repaired first, followed by distribution lines that feed neighborhoods. Tap lines and individual service lines are then repaired to restore power to customers who may still be without electricity.
Sandbag Distribution Available for Charles County Residents
Due to the National Weather Service forecast for heavy rain and flooding, the Charles County Department of Emergency Services is providing sandbags to county residents who need them to protect property. Sandbags and sand will be available Tuesday, Sept. 11 through Thursday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Residents can pick up and fill their sandbags at the first parking lot at Laurel Springs Park (5940 Radio Station Rd, La Plata).
There is a limit of 10 bags per person. Residents should bring a shovel to fill the bags. No shovels or other tools will be provided. Please be prepared to provide proof of county residency.