Flooding, Thunderstorms, Tornadoes Among Spring Weather Threats

News Release, Maryland Emergency Management Agency

Maryland Severe Storm Awareness Week is April 7-13  

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (April 8, 2019) — Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week begins on Sunday, April 7, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is teaming up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency managers to promote citizen awareness and preparedness.

The NWS emphasizes that the mid-Atlantic region is at risk for flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail, and lightning storms every year. Maryland experiences severe storms regularly during the spring and is particularly at risk for flooding, but also experiences hailstorms and even tornadoes. Maryland has had nearly 100 tornadoes in the past ten years.

“If you hear thunder or see lightning, try to get inside right away,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “And never try to drive across flooded roadways. If you need to leave your shelter due to damage or an emergency, bring your emergency kit and a charged cell phone with you.”

Residents can be “weather prepared” by ensuring that they know how to receive a warning, have a plan, and practice safety tips.

“Every year, Maryland gets severe thunderstorms that target localized communities” said Christopher Strong, NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office. “If Marylanders get National Weather Service warnings from phone apps and/or weather radio, and have a plan for what to do, we can all stay safe from the damaging winds, large hail, flooding, tornadoes, and lightning.“

The NWS and MEMA work closely together with local government agencies to identify and monitor severe weather systems, develop preparedness plans and safety information, and coordinate the response to these storms.

Residents can also take actions to remain safe by practicing the following tips:

  • During flooding, never drive over an area where water is flowing over the road and you cannot see the pavement. Turn around, don’t drown!
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued or you are experiencing strong winds, get to a sturdy shelter and stay indoors away from windows.
  • Tornadoes can form rapidly in the right conditions. If there is a tornado warning or you see a tornado, quickly get inside and go to the lowest floor possible.
  • If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck from a fringe lightning strike. More than 98% of lightning casualties are from people outdoors—get indoors or inside your vehicle if possible.

Additional information can be found at the NWS “Weather Ready” website and the MEMA website. Residents can also click here to download the Maryland Prepares Mobile App .

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