By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Sept. 13, 2018) Worcester County could see several of inches of rain and some wind this weekend, but appeared to be far enough away from Hurricane Florence’s projected landfall as of midweek to be spared its more serious effects.
Brendan Schaper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Center, said Tuesday that Florence was likely to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in North Carolina early Friday morning.
“And then the storm is expected to slow down quite a bit and actually stall right over the east/central North Carolina coast,” Schaper said. “The latest forecast has the hurricane at 2 a.m. on Sunday near the Raleigh-Durham area, so it really doesn’t move a whole lot from the time it’s a major hurricane making landfall early Friday morning, to early Sunday morning.
“But, the effects will be far reaching,” he added. “Right now, the ‘cone of uncertainty’ does not include the Eastern Shore, so that is some good news for up there.”
Schaper said the chance of thunderstorms would be 50-60 percent late Thursday and into Friday morning, and 60-70 percent later in the day, Friday.
“After that, it becomes a little bit more uncertain,” he said. “It depends on the progression of the system – how fast or slow it moves and the rain bands associated with it.”
He added the cone of uncertainty, which shows the probable path of the storm, was still “very close” to Worcester County.
“Effects from heavy rainfall are going to be far reaching and our storm total accumulations up that way are, through Saturday evening, in the 1-2 inch range,” Schaper said. “There is a potential that the northern Eastern Shore – Ocean City and Berlin – could be on the lower end of the rainfall accumulations.”
Winds over the weekend were likely to be in the 15-20 mph range, with gusts as high as 30-35 mph, Schaper added.
For Hurricane Florence updates, visit www.weather.gov/wakefield.
State and local officials this week urged caution, however, with
Gov. Larry Hogan declaring a state of emergency on Monday.
“Our state is taking every precaution and I urge all Marylanders to do the same. Stay tuned to your local news stations for the latest updates, listen to state and local authorities and, most importantly, use common sense,” Hogan said.
Town Administrator Laura Allen posted a note of caution on the Town of Berlin website on Monday.
“As Hurricane Florence approaches, it is important to take the steps necessary to ensure you’re prepared,” Allen said. “Hurricanes cannot be controlled, but there are things you can do to prepare – such as assembling a disaster supply kit. It could take a few days for help to arrive if a hurricane hits.”
Allen said emergency preparedness kits should include:
- A gallon of water per person per day (don’t forget about your pets), for at least three days.
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food items: canned goods, fruit cups, cereal bars, and trail mix.
- A blanket and pillow – you may want to store them in a dry plastic bag to ensure your comfort.
- A change of clothes, sturdy footwear, and rain gear.
- Tools, flashlight, and radio – a wrench or pliers can help with turning off valves, flashlights if power is out, and a battery-operated radio to stay connected if power or cellular connections are lost.
- Emergency cash, documents, and first-aid supplies – cash will be needed if ATMs are down, as well as important family documents, copies of insurance information, bank account numbers, and identification, also write down important phone numbers for family and friends.
- First-aid supplies – antiseptic ointment, bandages, sterile gauze, and ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Personal hygiene and health items – to conserve clean water, wipes are suggested in place of a shower, a toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, and prescription medications.
- Entertainment to pass the time – board games, toys for children, and books.
“Once your kit is prepared, store it in a cool dry place and replace perishable items as needed,” Allen said.
To sign up for the Town of Berlin CodeRED emergency notification system, visit www.berlinmd.gov/department/emergency-notification-2.
Ocean Pines Marketing and Public Relations Director Denise Sawyer issued a statement Tuesday morning that the community was “preparing for severe weather conditions surrounding Hurricane Florence.”
“While there is still quite a bit of uncertainty regarding the hurricane’s exact track and speed, the potential for strong winds and prolonged heavy rainfall is growing,” Sawyer said.
She said the association was making storm preparations, including servicing generators, clearing roadside ditches, and setting up a phone bank for emergency calls.
With more than 300 miles of ditches in Ocean Pines, Sawyer asked residents to clear away any visible impediments. If water does not drain after the rain has stopped, report flooding by calling 410-641-7717.
Additional tips for Ocean Pines residents and guests are:
- Remove and secure objects outside your home and business that may become projectiles during high winds, like lawn furniture and potted plants.
- Sign up for PinesAlerts to get emergency alerts from the Ocean Pines Association via text message by texting the word PINES to the telephone number 88474.
- Visit www.oceanpines.org for a good list of supplies to have on hand in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, including drinking water, a first-aid kit, non-perishable food, a radio, flashlight and batteries, phone charger and blankets.
- Have a family emergency plan in place. Plan evacuation routes from home and work and how you will be in touch with members of your family.
- Be informed. Learn more about steps you can take now to prepare for an emergency. Look for emergency preparedness information at www.ready.gov/severe-weather and www.VBgov.com/beprepared.
- Cancellations and service changes. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Association will maintain on www.oceanpines.org a list of event cancellations, closings, service changes and other announcements related to the hurricane.
- Get the latest. Monitor local news and Channel 78 on Mediacom for severe weather updates.