President Barack Obama signed a pre-landfall state of emergency declaration for Maryland.
The declaration provides federal resources from FEMA and Health and Human Services to state aid, Sen. Ben Cardin announced at a press conference at Maryland Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Reisterstown Sunday night.
“Federal partners are here at your request,” he said.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are working alongside state agencies at MEMA’s emergency operations center, which is fully staffed in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Federal employees from Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, Indiana and Kansas have come to Maryland’s aid, Cardin said.
Military assets are also available, he said.
Gov. Martin O’Malley urged Maryland residents to stay off the roads Monday.
“There will be very dangerous conditions out on the road [Monday] and we are urging all citizens to hunker down at home and stay off the roads [Monday],” he said. “…This is a very unpredictable storm.”
Public transportation in Maryland will be shut down Monday, with the exception of paratransit, which will run until 3 p.m. tomorrow.
The following services will be closed Monday:
- Local buses
- Commuter buses
- MARC train
- Light rail
- Metro subway
- All Metro rail and bus service in Washington, DC
The Port of Baltimore will also be closed Monday.
Southwest Airlines will suspend travel out of BWI-Marshall Airport at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28. Resumption of services at BWI depends on the conditions of the runways and airport, the company announced at its web site. The airline said it is offering flexible options for passengers who are traveling through BWI on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 29-30. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Jet Blue, United Airlines and US Airways are allowing passengers to reschedule flights through BWI during the storm.
O’Malley said schools throughout the state, including Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Harford County, Howard County, Carroll County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County, will be closed on Monday.
Maryland state government will be closed except for essential personnel, O’Malley said.
Twenty of the state’s 38 shelters run by county governments are open and three of the state’s five shelters will be open, he said. Marylanders can find out where their local shelter is through text message.
Voluntary evacuation are underway in low-lying areas in Somerset and Talbot counties, as well as Smith Island and Crisfield, O’Malley said.
Early voting will be extended to Friday since it will be cancelled for Monday, the governor said.