FLORENCE UPDATE: Shelter at Chesapeake College

Submitted to the Dorchester Banner/City of Cambridge The Cambridge city government released this chart of expected dangers associated with Hurricane Florence.

Submitted to the Dorchester Banner/City of Cambridge
The Cambridge city government released this chart of expected dangers associated with Hurricane Florence.

CAMBRIDGE – Though Hurricane Florence has made landfall in the Carolinas, the Dorchester County Department of Emergency Management (DEM)  is urging residents to remain vigilant through the weekend, a statement from the DEM said Wednesday. Continued rainfall and impacted tides could cause dangerous flooding conditions throughout the county. This includes areas of Dorchester that don’t historically experience flooding.

“Due to the significant rainfall we’ve experienced over the summer, much of the county is waterlogged and we could see flooding across the county, from Hurlock to Crapo. We urge residents to report roads that appear to be impassable to Dorchester County Emergency Services at 410‐228‐2222, and stay tuned to local television and radio for the most up to date information,” Anna Sierra, director of Emergency Services said Wednesday afternoon.
Heavy rain could occur Friday, although high winds are becoming less likely. This combination could result in downed trees, loss of power and other important services.

The Maryland Department of Human Services is opening two shelters to support any travelers, evacuees or residents in need of shelter during any storm or associated flooding. The Department of Emergency Services has not issued any evacuation orders for our area, but the shelters are available should any residents be concerned about their potential impacts from the tidal flooding expected this weekend. The Eastern Shore shelter will be located at:

Chesapeake College Health Professions and Athletic Center 1000 College Circle Wye Mills, MD 21679

The shelter is pet friendly, and anyone using the facilities should plan on bringing prescription medications, pillows, hygiene supplies, medical equipment, diapers, cell, phones, chargers, important documents, and any other personal comfort items if possible. If you need assistance getting to the shelter, please contact the Department of Emergency Services at 410-228-1818.

“It is important for everyone in our community to know that if they are concerned about their properties being flooded by tides this weekend, there is a place to go,” said Dorchester Emergency Services director Anna Sierra. “We do not anticipate issuing evacuation orders at this time. We are encouraging all residents to keep a vigilant eye on tidal flooding in low-lying areas and consider going to a shelter if they believe they will be in danger from inundation.”

Dorchester County residents should monitor their television, radio and social media outlets for evacuation notices. These notices will also be made by telephone, and residents are urged to register for these emergency notifications at the Dorchester County website (link: https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736724055#/login).

Residents also need to know if their home is in, or near, and evacuation zone. Those zones can be found on an interactive map on the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) website. (link: https://maryland.maps.arcgis.com/apps/InformationLookup/index.html?appid=abef1ee97e254dd7a8b55cc179e29d6c)

LINKS:

Register to receive county updates: https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736724055#/login

‘Know Your Zone’ Map: http://choosecambridge.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a0f6c1ab8a14447fb080e3abcd43a165

If you would like to register to receive alerts directly you can sign up at: http://www.dorchestercountymd.com/ go to button that says “sign up for emergency alerts”.

If you are in a life threatening situation, please call 911.

Dorchester County and city officials declared a state of emergency in Maryland on Tuesday. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Maryland on Monday.

Potential impact

Dorchester’s declaration took effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated as well, putting teams in place to prepare for and respond to Florence and her impact.

Gov. Hogan said, “Our state is taking every precaution, and I urge all Marylanders to do the same. Stay tuned to your local news stations for the latest updates, listen to state and local authorities, and most importantly, use common sense.”

Event times changed

The storm had already forced changes in local events. As of Friday afternoon: 

  • The GrooveFEST: Brews, Blues and BBQs originally set for this weekend has been postponed until October.
  • The Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians Native American Festival, originally scheduled for this weekend, has been canceled. “It’s just way too risky and unsafe,” Chief Donna Abbott wrote online. “I won’t put the safety of our people, vendors and guests at risk.”
  • Cambridge-South Dorchester High School’s football game, was played Wednesday at North Caroline High School. North Caroline won, 45-6.
  • Lakes & Straights Volunteer Fire Company’s bingo on Sept. 15 has been canceled.
  • 4-H Dorchester has canceled the Hunter Safety Class that was scheduled to begin on Wednesday. An attempt will be made to reschedule the classes during October. Check the DNR Hunter Safety Course Schedule online for a future class listing.
  • Great Marsh Park in Cambridge will close at noon on Friday, in anticipation of flooding.

Remain alert’

A state of emergency is a good indicator that residents should remain alert and follow officials’ orders, news stations, and weather forecasts in order to be informed of the situation,” said MEMA’s Executive Director, Russell Strickland. “We encourage all residents and visitors to our State to visit www.KnowYourZoneMD.com to see if they are inside, or if they are traveling to, a hurricane evacuation zone,” he added.

Gov. Hogan has directed state agencies to stand ready to respond to the effects of this storm, including the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). For more information, residents can also go to MEMA’s website at mema.maryland.gov, follow MEMA’s Twitter feed at @MDMEMA, or follow MEMA’s Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/MDMEMA.

If you are in a life threatening situation, call 911. To report flooded roadways or downed trees, call 410-228-2222.

MDOT clears a path

As Hurricane Florence moves 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, the agency said in a press release on Tuesday.

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.

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. 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.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Dorchester Banner will provide updates on the storm and the county’s response as information becomes available.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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