Upper Marlboro, MD - The 2013 Hurricane Season for our region officially started on June 1 and ends on November 30, 2013, with the peak of the season from mid-August to late October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an active hurricane season with a 70 percent chance of 13 to 20 tropical storms. Although it is estimated that 7 to 11 of these storms could become hurricanes with wind speeds of 74 mph or higher, there is no prediction of how many storms will actually hit landfall or where the storms will strike.
“Since taking office two and half years ago, Prince George’s County has faced two hurricanes, a tropical storm, and a microburst during hurricane season,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “I encourage all Prince George’s County residents to have a hurricane preparedness plan that will protect their family and property during a severe weather event. The best protection against natural disaster is preparation.”
“As we remember the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and its impact along the east coast, we want to remind residents to be “Emergency Ready”, be prepared with a plan and have a Kit,” said Ronald E. Gill, Jr., Director, Office of Emergency Management. “Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive storms of 2012. Homes and businesses were destroyed by flooding, fire, rainfall and high winds. There is no way to predict the impact that hurricanes can have on communities, so we’ve got to be ready.”
“Flooding is also one of the most common hazards that can happen anywhere, during any weather condition,” said Adam Ortiz, Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Resources (DER). “Although most flooding occurs because of hurricane-related storms, citizens need to know the risks and how to protect themselves and their property.”
- Know your risks - Determine if your property is located in a risk area. Visit www.floodsmart.gov or contact DER at 301-883- 5834.
- Protect yourself and your property - Check with your insurance agent regarding flood insurance. Prince George’s County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a related program known as the Community Rating System (CRS). Through the County’s flood management activities and Class 5 rating under the CRS, residents can receive up to a 25 percent reduction in flood insurance premiums. For information on the NFIP, call 800- 427-4661.
In addition, take preventive measures around your home by fixing leaks, foundation cracks, and clearing gutters and drains. To learn more about protecting your home from flooding, visit http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/disaster-insurance/protect-yourself-and-your-home-flooding/#ixzz2UtnPQ1oy .
The Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management wants everyone to know that awareness and good preparedness are essential to surviving major storms. Here are a few helpful reminders:
BEFORE A STORM:
Register for Notify Me Prince George’s to receive real-time information and notifications of severe weather watches, floods, significant power outages, and other storm related updates. Register by logging onto https://notifyme.princegeorgescountymd.gov or by texting 411912
• Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning.
- A Watch is issued when the threat of hurricane conditions exist within 24-36 hours.
- A Warning is issued when hurricane conditions are specified to 24 hours or less. (Actions to protect life and property should begin immediately).
• Have Preparedness Kits available in your home and vehicle.
- Have non-perishable foods for up to three-days, 1 gallon of water per person, per day and don’t forget your medications or prescriptions.
- Ensure that your vehicles have a full tank of gas.
• Know and practice your Family Communications Plan.
• Ensure copies of important documents are stored in a safe place.
• Have some cash on hand.
• Secure or bring inside exterior items that might become windborne.
• Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the doors only when necessary and close quickly.
DURING A STORM
• Please remain calm and do not call 9-1-1 unless it is an emergency.
• Do not go outside. Flying debris from high winds is a danger.
• Try to stay in an interior room; stay away from windows or soft spots in the home.
• Use flashlights. Avoid using candles for lighting due to fire hazards.
- Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. Candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
• If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
• During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when the power returns.
• Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors due to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
AFTER A STORM
• Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines to avoid electrocution.
• Call police or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas, water mains or overturned gas tanks.
• Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road – motorists can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious; therefore, do not make assumptions.
• Be very cautious at night as it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.
Remember to store important utility numbers. This information may be helpful during recovery.
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
Washington Gas: 1-800-752-7520
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC): 1-800-828-4002
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO): 1-877-747-6326
For more information about the 2013 Hurricane Season, visit the (NOAA) website. To obtain information on flood prone structures, flood management, and how to purchase flood insurance, please call DER at
301-883-5834. For tips on how to prepare before, during or after a hurricane, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 301-780-8183.