REISTERSTOWN, MD (April 6, 2021) — Maryland residents are invited to practice what to do in a tornado as part of Severe Storms Awareness Week, April 5-9, 2021. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) also is launching a new mobile website application during the week. The MdReady WebApp replaces existing Maryland Prepares App and provides instant access to a wide array of emergency notifications and preparedness information to Marylanders and visitors alike. To install the new WebApp, users can visit MdReady.maryland.gov and follow the prompt to easily add the MdReady shortcut to their mobile device’s home screen.
Severe Storms Awareness Week is taking place during the month of April, which Governor Hogan has proclaimed as Maryland’s Flood Awareness Month. During Severe Storms Awareness Week in Maryland, MEMA will devote special days to cover information about flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail and lightning.
On Wednesday, April 7, Marylanders are invited by MEMA and the National Weather Service (NWS) to practice what to do in the event of a tornado. Because people’s routines have been changed due to the ongoing pandemic, people are asked to review their emergency weather plans and ensure they consider the implications of COVID-19.
“The pandemic has not only changed the daily routine for many of us, but it also has changed how we prepare for emergencies,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Severe Storms Awareness Week is not only a chance to review what we need to do to prepare for spring weather hazards, but also to highlight that COVID-19 is now part of our preparations.”
As part of pandemic precautions, Marylanders should include additional supplies like extra face coverings, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant in their emergency supply kits. It’s also important to remember that if evacuations and shelters are needed that distancing and other public health precautions may alter what facilities are used and how far away they might be away from one’s home.
“The majority of Maryland’s weather-related damage comes from thunderstorms and tornadoes,” said James E. Lee, Meteorologist in Charge of the NWS Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office (WFO). “The NWS Baltimore/Washington WFO typically identifies hazardous weather threats minutes in advance, then immediately issues severe weather warnings. It is vital that Marylanders receive our warnings and rapidly respond to get out of harm’s way. Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week reminds people to develop a response plan, then practice the plan during the tornado drill.”
While Marylanders are encouraged to practice a tornado drill at any time that day the NWS will issue a Special Weather Statement on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios about the tornado drill at 9:45 a.m. April 7 — but without the high-pitched tones associated with an actual tornado warning. The NWS Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office, which covers most Maryland jurisdictions is coordinating this statement and drill in conjunction with their colleagues at NWS Mount Holly (PA), which covers Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties, and NWS Wakefield (VA) which handles Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.
To find more preparedness information for severe storms and other hazards, please visit the following websites: https://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/types-of-emergencies.aspx, https://www.weather.gov/safety/, or www.ready.gov.