REISTERSTOWN, MD (August 7, 2023) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management has warned all residents and visitors in the state that severe thunderstorms are expected to sweep through Maryland today. The storms, forecasted to begin early this afternoon and continue into the evening, carry the potential to cause significant damage to life and property. The Storm Prediction Center has elevated the risk level to “MODERATE,” focusing on the state’s most densely populated areas. Winds exceeding 70 miles per hour, flash flooding, hail, extreme lightning, straight-line wind damage, and the possibility of isolated significant tornadoes are expected.
Russ Strickland, Secretary of Emergency Management, urged everyone to closely monitor weather forecasts throughout the day and be prepared for potentially life-threatening weather conditions. He advised residents to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones during the severe weather.
The Maryland Department of Emergency Management has raised the State Activation Level to “ENHANCED” to support the response to this incident, indicating the seriousness of the situation.
To prepare for the approaching storms, residents are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Prepare for power outages by charging electronics, having battery backups, and keeping flashlights ready.
- Ensure emergency supplies are available at home, work, and in vehicles.
- Stay alert and have multiple ways of receiving emergency alerts.
- If you have impaired mobility and use elevators, plan with household members or neighbors for a safe evacuation route.
- Electric medical device users should have fresh batteries and consult their doctors about power outage procedures.
- Listen to local officials for updates and guidance.
Motorists are strongly advised to avoid driving if possible until the storm passes. It is crucial to refrain from driving over flooded roadways or around barricades.
Regarding tornadoes, residents are reminded to pay close attention to weather forecasts and emergency alerts. A tornado watch indicates that conditions are favorable for development, while a tornado warning means that a tornado is either developing or has formed in the area. In the event of a tornado warning, residents should seek shelter immediately. The safest places during a tornado are basements or interior rooms on the lowest floor of sturdy buildings, away from windows. Outdoors, mobile homes, and vehicles are unsafe during tornadoes, so individuals should move to the closest substantial shelter and protect themselves from flying debris.
The National Weather Service and the Maryland Department of Transportation are valuable resources for monitoring weather and road conditions. Additionally, the MdReady app and website can monitor power outages.
In a separate statement, the National Weather Service provided a detailed outlook for hazardous weather in the region, emphasizing the likelihood of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, large hail, and the potential for tornadoes. The outbreak is expected between 2 PM and 10 PM today, with the timing varying based on location. Residents are urged to stay informed and take necessary safety precautions.
Charles County, Maryland, announced the activation policy for tornado sirens to alert residents in the event of a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service or if first responders spot a tornado. The sirens, which will cycle for three minutes, will warn those outdoors immediately. Still, residents indoors should rely on weather radios, television, radio messages, or phone notifications for updates on weather threats.
Officials emphasized the importance of registering for the Citizen Notification Service (CNS) to receive updates and alerts from the Charles County Government and the National Weather Service. Residents are urged to seek shelter immediately when the sirens sound and stay indoors until 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.
The ongoing severe weather situation in Maryland necessitates proactive measures and vigilant monitoring of official updates to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.