REISTERSTOWN, MD (May 26, 2023) — As the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaches, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) urges residents, workers, and visitors to Maryland to be prepared and informed. Recent years have seen unusually busy hurricane seasons, making it crucial for individuals to “Know Your Zone” and have an emergency plan in place.

The devastating impacts of hurricanes in recent years serve as a reminder of the importance of preparedness. In 2020, the Atlantic set a record for the number of named hurricanes, highlighting these storms’ increased frequency and intensity. Even without a direct hit, Maryland can experience significant consequences from tropical storms or hurricanes, including high winds, tidal flooding, and inland flooding.

Click image to go to the Know Your Zone Map

MDEM’s Secretary Russ Strickland emphasized the significance of individual responsibility, stating, “It takes just a single storm to change your life.” Secretary Strickland urged residents to remain vigilant to forecasts, understand their evacuation zones, and have an emergency plan and disaster supply kit ready.

Maryland experienced the impact of Hurricane Ida in 2021, which made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico but still caused tornadoes, flooding, and dangerous flash floods in the state. The remnants of Ida spawned tornadoes, including one that caused substantial damage in the Annapolis area. Flash floods resulting from heavy rains tragically led to a drowning in basement apartments in a Montgomery County complex. Further up the coast, New York City subway tunnels were flooded due to Ida’s heavy rainfall.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters from the Climate Prediction Center, a National Weather Service (NWS) division, predict a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season indicates a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season, and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA anticipates a total of 12 to 17 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. Among these hurricanes, 1 to 4 are expected to be major hurricanes with category 3, 4, or 5 status and winds of 111 mph or higher. NOAA has 70% confidence in these projections.

To facilitate effective evacuations, Maryland has implemented the Know Your Zone program. The program assigns letter zones (A, B, and C) to specific areas, allowing local emergency officials to issue evacuation orders quickly. Residents can determine if they live, work, or visit an evacuation zone in Maryland by visiting and using the “Find Your Zone” link. Individuals can determine if their location falls within an evacuation zone by entering their address.

It is important to note that the evacuation zones pertain to storm surges or tidal flooding along the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, the coastal bay, and the ocean on the Eastern Shore. These zones do not apply to inland and flash floods.

In addition to knowing their evacuation zones, residents should consider various factors when preparing for hurricanes and other hazards. MDEM advises individuals to plan in advance, pay attention to emergency information and alerts, identify the best protection against high winds and flooding, and establish a plan to shelter in place if it is safe to do so. Those in mandatory evacuation zones should arrange to shelter with friends or family for increased safety and comfort.

MDEM encourages residents to stay updated with the latest information about public evacuation shelters through local authorities. Additionally, proper usage of outdoor generators, avoidance of flood waters, and adherence to safety guidelines are crucial during hurricane events. MDEM advises keeping generators at least 20 feet away from homes and ensuring they are positioned away from windows, doors, and vents. Never walking, swimming, or driving through floodwaters is essential, as they can be deceptive and dangerous.

To enhance preparedness, MDEM suggests accessing resources and information from various organizations. Residents can visit MDEM, FEMA, the National Weather Service, and the American Red Cross for comprehensive hurricane preparedness information, including sample emergency plans and supply kit guidelines.

To receive timely alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards that may affect Maryland, individuals can text “MdReady” to 211-631 or “MdListo” to receive alerts in Spanish. Additionally, Marylanders are encouraged to install the MdReady WebApp, which provides instant access to various emergency notifications and preparedness information. By visiting, users can easily add the MdReady shortcut to their mobile device’s home screen or sign up for text alerts in English or Spanish.

As the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaches, Maryland residents, workers, and visitors must take proactive steps to ensure their safety and well-being. Individuals can mitigate the potential impacts of hurricanes and other severe weather events by being aware of their evacuation zones, developing emergency plans, and assembling disaster supply kits.

The Maryland Department of Emergency Management encourages everyone to remain vigilant, stay informed through official sources, and heed the guidance of local authorities. By working together and being prepared, Maryland can effectively navigate the challenges posed by the Atlantic Hurricane Season and safeguard the lives and property of its residents.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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