Maryland Gov. O’Malley Orders Ocean City Evacuation, Urges Residents to Hunker Down for Hurricane Irene
Gov. Martin O’Malley urged citizens to prepare supplies to sustain them for 72 hours as Hurricane Irene moves through Maryland. A statewide emergency has been declared as well as a mandatory evacuation of Ocean City.
Gov. Martin O’Malley Thursday urged Maryland residents to prepare for flooding, gale winds, electrical outages and torrential rain as Hurricane Irene headed for the state. He declared a state of emergency and ordered a rare evacuation of Ocean City.
“We are fully activated and watching very closely in full preparation mode for the arrival of Hurricane Irene,” O’Malley said at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) headquarters in Reisterstown. “This is a large, this is a deadly, this is a slow-moving hurricane that is bearing down on the state of Maryland.”
The governor has declared a statewide emergency and ordered a mandatory evacuation of Ocean City. Officials anticipate the storm will be a Category 2 when it arrives off the coast of Ocean City, with the eye possibly over Ocean City by 2 a.m. Sunday, said O’Malley, who was joined by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and MEMA officials.
Gale winds from the storm, which will stretch from Frederick to Ocean City, will be felt by 5 p.m. Saturday, O’Malley said.
Low-lying coastal areas, flood-prone areas, areas of the lower Eastern Shore in Dorchester and Somerset counties and low-lying areas in Baltimore and Annapolis are at risk for flooding, he said. He urged residents of these areas to make arrangements to move to higher ground.
O’Malley encouraged citizens to be prepared with food and supplies to last 72 hours as the storm moves through the state. BGE and Pepco are ready for anticipated outages, but the governor said to expect electrical outages as trees fall from the ground’s saturation and power lines are knocked down.
The goal is have Ocean City evacuated by 5 p.m. on Friday, O’Malley said. Approximately 100 state troopers have been sent to assist Ocean City officials in the evacuation and go door-to-door to make sure citizens leave. Seasonal workers who don’t have transportation are being evacuated as well. The governor said he can’t remember a time Ocean City was issued a mandatory evacuation.
“A storm of this size, passing this close to Ocean City, is going to do some damage to the boardwalk,” he said. “We anticipate that everything south of 17th Street will be under water for a period of time because of the tidal surge and the storm surge.”
Citizens are encouraged to check maryland.gov for updates and call their local emergency management offices for assistance.
“We need all citizens to do their job of taking every precaution to protect their families over these next critical few days,” O’Malley said.