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Maryland Hurricane Florence preps: Here's how the state is responding

State agencies have been directed to assist local governments with preparation and response efforts.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The State of Maryland is preparing for the possible effects of Hurricane Florence on the east coast.

State agencies have been directed to assist local governments with preparation and response efforts.

Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order on Monday to declare a state of emergency ahead of the storm.

RELATED: Hurricane Florence update: Dangerous Category 4 storm 900 miles away, DC impacts still taking shape

The emergency declaration was enacted as a precaution in order to release state resources and funds for response efforts.

State agencies are responding in the following ways:

Maryland Emergency Management Agency

  • MEMA has increased the state’s response level in order to efficiently coordinate activities and has increased staffing levels at the State Emergency Operations Center.
  • MEMA is currently supporting all local jurisdictions requests, while coordinating among state agencies to fulfill any requests from local jurisdictions.
  • MEMA has been facilitating weather calls with the National Weather Service and has been in frequent contact with local emergency managers, state agencies, and local partners to maintain situational awareness and coordination.

Maryland National Guard

  • The Guard is ready to support the Governor, MEMA, and other partner agencies as we prepare for, respond to, and recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.
  • Our Joint Operations Center is manned around the clock, and we are in constant contact with MEMA, ready to respond as needed.

Maryland Department of Human Services

  • Providing multi-agency coordination for mass care services through State Coordinating Function Human Services.
  • Preparing a state shelter strategy to assist with disaster sheltering for our local jurisdictions.

Maryland Energy Administration

  • Maryland Energy Administration and the Maryland Public Service Commission continue to monitor, support, and coordinate with the Maryland electric and gas utilities on their storm preparedness, mobilization, and restoration efforts.

Maryland Department of Health

  • The Department of Health has reached out to local health departments, state facilities, and state partners to establish unmet needs and provide updates.

Maryland Insurance Administration

  • Maryland Insurance Administration’s response team is prepared to respond to consumer-related insurance issues related to the pending storm.
  • Insurance preparedness information can be found here: http://bit.ly/2QkaqKi

Maryland Department of Disabilities

  • The Department of Disabilities has posted emergency preparedness links and tips on our social media platforms.
  • We are preparing to deploy a large inventory of accessibility devices, including communication technologies to mass care shelters.

Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS)

  • MIEMSS will be maintaining situational awareness and coordinating with other agencies.
  • MIEMSS is prepared to assist with coordination of EMS resources to impacted jurisdictions–or to impacted states if Maryland is not significantly impacted.
  • MIEMSS will be sending regular updates to EMS operation programs and hospitals and will be monitoring hospital physical plant status (power, water, etc.).

Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA)

  • The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is deploying maintenance forces throughout the state to begin preparations for the storm and its impacts. MDOT SHA crews will inspect, clean and clear stormwater ditches, drains, and inlets to ensure adequate drainage.
  • Crews from MDOT SHA maintenance facilities are also evaluating all emergency response equipment such as high water signs, chainsaws, chippers, loaders, and grading trucks. Additionally, crews are ensuring that all generators are fully topped off and functional in case of power outages.

Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA)

  • As weather conditions develop, MTA patrols service areas of roads that are particularly challenging (steep hills, curves and the like) to monitor road conditions and advise of any bus diversions needed, speed restrictions or service stoppage due to high or rising water or blocked roadways.
  • For Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink, MDOT MTA will increase visual monitoring of catenary lines to prevent limbs and trees strikes to the power lines.

Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA)

  • A number of airlines have announced travel advisories and relaxed ticketing policies ahead of Hurricane Florence. Travelers this week are recommended to check with their airline for up-to-date flight status information.
  • This week, Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport employees will conduct inspections of the airfield and terminal to ensure a safe operating environment for travelers and employees.
  • Employees will work to secure equipment on the airfield and at construction sites to prevent material from becoming airborne during high winds.
  • Emergency generators will be checked and fueled.

Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)

  • The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds motorists to be prepared for wind warnings, restrictions, and the potential for temporary traffic holds. Any decision to hold traffic at Maryland toll facilities is based upon current weather at the facility.
  • The MDTA will make every effort to keep all of its facilities open as long as conditions are deemed safe to do so. Rain and high winds may prevent two-way operations (when one lane of eastbound traffic travels on the westbound span) at the Bay Bridge. Officials will continue to monitor weather conditions and will implement two-way operations, if possible.

Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA)

  • The MDOT MPA is coordinating with the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • MDOT MPA is also checking storm drains for debris and reminding tenants about potential flooding areas.

Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA)

  • MDOT MVA is prepared to work with law enforcement and local authorities to identify vehicles impacted by Hurricane Florence and ensure they are processed appropriately.
  • The status of MDOT MVA branch offices/VEIP stations that are impacted by the inclement weather will be posted to the website and social media. Remember, many MDOT MVA services are offered online and can be accessed at your convenience. Please check www.mva.maryland.gov for further updates.

Maryland Department of State Police

  • State Police Special Operations Division personnel are coordinating with MEMA as predictions are made about the storm’s greatest impact in Maryland in order to make pre-deployment assignments of troopers and equipment.
  • Commanders of specialized divisions not normally assigned to road patrol are scheduling the redeployment of troopers to road patrol assignments and other support functions where the areas of predicted need during the storm are the greatest.

Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation

  • The Division of Unemployment Insurance is preparing for any increase in unemployment Insurance applications after the storm.
  • Preparing the Maryland Home Improvement Commission staff and the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health staff to assist with public inquiries after the storm.

State Department of Assessment and Taxation

  • SDAT’s local assessment offices are reviewing procedures and will be prepared to work with MEMA and inspect areas impacted by the impending severe weather to assess property damage.

Maryland Department of Budget and Management

  • The Department of Budget and Management encourages all State employees and interested parties to monitor our website and Twitter account for the latest updates regarding special closings of State buildings, liberal leave announcements, and other emergency information.

Maryland Department of Planning

  • Staff of the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) is available to assist State Historic Preservation Offices in the affected region by carrying out damage assessments and analysis of historic and cultural resources in communities affected by Hurricane Florence to determine the extent of damage and prioritize recovery operations.
  • MHT is also available to provide guidance on repair, rehabilitation, and protection of historic and cultural resources as requested.

Maryland Dept of Information Technology

  • The Department will be ready to update the Maryland.gov portal and the State of Maryland social media channels with news and information about the storm from MEMA and the Governor’s Office.
  • We will be prepared to issue statewide alerts on all Maryland state government websites if action is required.

Maryland Department of Commerce

  • Maryland Commerce will communicate any emergency information or information as it relates to the business community through its social media channels as information becomes available.

Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Charlotte Hall Veterans Home (CHVH) and Cemetery Program emergency generators and vehicles fuel topped off (pick-up trucks, tractors, buses, vans, golf carts).
  • We will hold daily CHVH staff meetings as storm approaches.
  • CHVH emergency trailer supplies checked, i.e. plywood, tape, flashlights, tools as well as supplies checked for par levels plus four days, i.e. medications, food, water, linen, Cemetery Program supplies checked, bottled water purchased, chainsaws fueled and ready to remove down limbs and trees, drains and areas prone to flooding cleared and dug out.

Maryland Department of Agriculture

  • The Department’s Animal Health staff will be on call to respond to any animal-related emergencies. They can be reached at 410-841-5971.
  • Animal Health staff is prepared to respond to requests for assistance with livestock and companion animals in the affected area(s).

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

  • Anglers, boaters and watermen are encouraged to heed all advice and alerts from federal and state officials and law enforcement, and urged to remove, secure, store or tie-up all equipment, gear, and vessels in preparation for the storm(s). Commercial crabbers can remove their fishing equipment and gear immediately so it does not get damaged or dislodged.
  • The department recommends that boaters secure vessels with extra lines and bumpers. Remove or secure all loose items on board. Shut off fuel tanks and remove portable fuel and oil containers. Make sure batteries are fully-charged and working, and turn on auto bilge pumps.
  • Several state parks, including Assateague State Park in Worcester County and Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary’s County will likely limit or restrict public access and recreation, like camping and swimming, due to public safety concerns. Other state parks, including Patapsco Valley State Park in Baltimore/Howard County, have already experienced localized flooding.
  • The department is working with partners to drawdown state-managed dams and lakes in an orderly and safe fashion to reduce the likelihood a breach or leak. The public should remain cautious in and around local waterways, like creeks, rivers and streams. Many shorelines are already well-saturated downstream with dangerous and swift currents.
  • The department’s Hydrographic Operations crew stands ready to clean and clear marine debris that pose a hazard or threat to navigation. It will coordinate activities with the Maryland Natural Resources Police, U.S. Coast Guard and other partners. Report hazards to 410-260-8888.
  • Active department-managed projects, including boat ramp construction, dam removal and stream restoration will likely be delayed so teams can properly secure and store construction equipment and gear. Crews are on standby to deal with fallen tree limbs and trunks on department property.
  • The department will continue monitoring the health of Chesapeake Bay following the expected storms, running a cruise next week. Staff will also collect river and stream storm samples after the rains subside. We will also monitor flows from the Susquehanna River and Conowingo Dam.

Maryland Department of General Services

  • DGS is readying all state office buildings for adverse weather and has prepared them to be back in operation as soon as the storm clears.
  • DGS maintains an emergency resource list of 100+ vendors, ready to serve during a State of emergency.
  • DGS can coordinate with our fellow state agencies to provide access to any vehicles in the DGS fleet or in other state agency fleets, including any trucks or four-wheel drive vehicles, for usage by local or state agencies whose fleet may have been negatively affected by the storm.
  • DGS, as the agency of record for the Federal Surplus Property Program, can work with our federal partners, including FEMA and GSA, to secure a variety of surplus items.
  • DGS has communicated with Mansfield Oil to top off all priority refueling sites around the state including sites for MSP, MDTA, MTA and SHA.
  • DGS has a designated MEMA resource team procurement officer ready and willing to report on site to assist in utilizing the emergency resource list, which consists of the following resources; generators, sandbags (pre-filled & empty), ice, dry ice, food, and MREs.

Maryland Stadium Authority

  • The FEMA flood map for Baltimore City indicates the southern portion of the Camden Yards Sports Complex is vulnerable to storm surge. The Baltimore Orioles begin a 9-game home stand beginning tomorrow evening, Tuesday, September 11th and concluding Wednesday, September 19th.
  • The Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) has been monitoring the storm’s path and has informed the Ballpark Crisis Management Team (MSA, Baltimore Orioles, SP+ Parking and Baltimore City Police Department) about the possibility of convening a meeting. MSA has asked the Ballpark Crisis Management Team members to review ‘Hurricane Preparedness and Response Planning Annex from the Oriole Park Emergency Response Plan’ to be best prepared.
  • The MSA encourages all guests and tenants of the Camden Yards Sports Complex to monitor the MSA and Orioles websites’ (www.MDStad.com / www.Orioles.com ) and Twitter accounts’ (@MDStadiumAuth / @Orioles) for updates.
  • Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • The office provided ASL interpreters for the emergency broadcast to ensure accessibility and effective communication.

Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives/Office on Service & Volunteerism

• These offices will contact all volunteer centers across the state, and other service organizations, to alert them to be on the ready for requests for volunteer support during and after the storm.

Maryland Department of the Environment

• MDE’s Water and Science Administration (WSA) will notify high and significant hazard dam owners and operators to monitor the weather and reduce pool levels if possible, check all emergency equipment (including backup power systems), review emergency action plans and update emergency contacts. WSA will also contact wastewater treatment plants and drinking water facilities to take precautions. WSA will monitor storm impacts to determine if emergency closures are needed to shellfish harvesting areas.

• The MDE hazmat team is prepared to respond statewide to chemical or oil spills as necessary during the event.

• MDE’s Land and Materials Administration advised landfill and other solid waste facility operators to take steps to prepare for the possible storm and associated precipitation by ensuring good coverage of waste, pumping down leachate storage facilities and securing the site for possible high winds and heavy precipitation.

Emergency management officials will keep citizens updated on social media: Twitter @MDMEMA or on Facebook at facebook.com/MDMEMA.

WUSA9 is following the latest on Hurricane Florence as the storm comes closer to landfall. We will have the latest updates on how the storm could impact our area every three hours online, on our app and on social media: Facebook: facebook.com/pg/WUSA9 Twitter: @wusa9.