Program Aimed to Ease Evacuation in Areas Subject to Tidal Floods, Surge

News Release, St. Mary’s County Public Information Office

Leonardtown, MD – Those who live, work, or vacation in areas of St. Mary’s County are subject to tidal flooding or storm surges from a hurricane, and the Department of Emergency Services advises all toKnow Your Zone. The St. Mary’s County hurricane evacuation plan last year transitioned to a zone-based program to allow local emergency managers to more easily message evacuation requests to residents and visitors.

The new evacuation zones were a result of the Maryland Hurricane Evacuation Study which concluded last year. The study identified three large areas in Maryland subject to tidal flooding.Know Your Zoneaims to bring awareness of the evacuation zones to the forefront of Marylanders’ summer plans and make evacuation notices easier to disseminate.

The zones affect every jurisdiction on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, plus jurisdictions along the western coast of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal areas of the Potomac River south of Washington, D.C. That covers 16 Maryland counties along with Annapolis, Baltimore City and Ocean City. However, residents from other parts of Maryland should also know the zones if they travel to affected areas.

The zones are designated by the letters A, B and C. Zone A areas are the most likely to be impacted by severe flooding in the event of a major storm or hurricane.

In future years, the program will focus on refining evacuation routes away from the affected areas.

“Studies show that timely messaging for evacuations saves lives,” said Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Russ Strickland. “This system will make it easier and safer for local emergency managers to manage a potential evacuation, but only if youKnow Your Zonebefore a storm hits.”

St. Mary’s County can feel the impacts from a storm or a named hurricane hundreds of miles away. Hurricanes can produce 150-plus miles per hour winds, tornadoes, and tremendous flooding from both tidal surges and torrential rain.

“Everyone in St. Mary’s County should be proactive and prepared this hurricane season. Please take a minute toKnow Your Zone,” said Stephen Walker, Director of Emergency Service “We have worked hand in hand with state and federal partners using the best tools, which were not available three years ago in order to determine these zones and streamline a potential evacuation.”

Residents of and visitors to St. Mary’s County are encouraged to visit the interactiveKnow Your Zonewebpage,www.KnowYourZoneMd.com, to learn more about the project. Simply type in an address and locate property zones.

Click the image to be taken to the Interactive Zone map

Residents can also take the following actions to remain safe:

  • Build anemergency supply kitand develop a family emergency and communications plan.
  • Stay tuned to trusted sources such as the National Weather Service and local broadcasters for official weather information.
  • Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials, especially instructions related to evacuation.
  • During severe weather, stay indoors away from windows, close all interior doors, and brace external doors. Those who live near the shore or coast should expect the storm tide will inundate homes and property.
  • Flooding is often the biggest threat. Monitor NWS flood warnings for your area and be prepared to seek higher ground.
  • Fill a bathtub or other large containers with water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
  • Charge electronic devices before bad weather hits and consider keeping a charger in your car.

Additional preparedness information can be found on the Department of Emergency Services website atprepare.stmarysmd.com

Twitter feed – St. Mary’s County 9-1-1 Department of Emergency Services

Facebook – St. Mary’s CountyEmergencyServices

Residents can also download the free Maryland Prepares mobile app atmema.maryland.gov/pages/mdprepares.aspx

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...