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Spring Season Brings Chances for Hazardous Weather in Maryland

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:01

Spring Season Brings Chances for Hazardous Weather in Maryland

April 8-14 is Severe Storms Awareness Week

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (April 9, 2018) — Although it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet, now is the time to begin thinking about the upcoming severe storms season. This is Severe Storms Awareness Week, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is teaming up with the National Weather Service and local emergency managers to promote citizen awareness
and preparedness.

During spring, Maryland is at risk for heavy rainstorms, flooding, damaging winds, tornadoes, hail and lightning. All of these hazards typically occur throughout the state; however, residents can “be weather prepared” by ensuring that they know how to receive warnings and practice safety tips.

“Severe Storms Awareness Week is a chance to highlight dangerous weather that often occurs in Maryland,” said Russ Strickland, Executive Director of MEMA. “This is the time to plan for what you or your family should do in case of a severe weather warning. Get to a safe space, then communicate with your neighbors, friends and family to make sure they’re aware of the situation and are safe.”

The National Weather Service agrees with that assessment. “Maryland frequently experiences severe storms during the spring,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Christopher Strong. “Damaging winds and flooding are the primary threats, but we also see hailstorms and tornadoes of various intensity.”

The National Weather Service and MEMA work closely together and with local emergency managers and other government agencies to identify and monitor severe weather systems, develop preparedness plans and safety information and coordinate the response to these storms.

  • Now is the time for residents to prepare for severe storms by taking the following actions:
    During flooding, never enter an area where water is flowing over a road and you cannot see the pavement. Turn around, don’t drown!
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued or you are experiencing strong winds, get to a sturdy shelter and stay indoors away from windows.
  • Tornadoes can form rapidly in the right conditions. If there is a tornado warning or you see a tornado, quickly get inside and go to the lowest floor possible.
  • If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck from a fringe lightning strike. More than 98% of lightning fatalities are from people outdoors—get indoors or inside your vehicle if possible.

Download the Maryland Prepares app to your portable device to receive alerts of severe weather along with other handy features. Additional information can be found on the “Weather Ready” website at weather.gov/lwx/weatherready and the MEMA website at mema.maryland.gov.

Mobile Devices around National Capital Region to Receive Test Alert Thursday Government Agencies Conducting Wireless Emergency Alerts Test This Week

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:48

Mobile Devices around National Capital Region to Receive Test Alert Thursday Government Agencies Conducting Wireless Emergency Alerts Test This Week

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (April 2, 2018) — People who will be in or near the National Capital Region on Thursday, April 5, between 10-11 a.m. will be part of a regional Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) System test. Cell phones or other mobile devices in the area will receive the following message: “A test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts System. No action required.” WEA triggers a loud noise and text message on cell phones and enabled mobile devices.

Twenty jurisdictions will simultaneously issue a test message to the public through the WEA system. Local jurisdictions participating include: City of Alexandria, City of Bowie, City of College Park, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, City of Gaithersburg, City of Greenbelt, City of Takoma Park, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, City of Rockville, District of Columbia, Arlington County, Charles County, Fairfax County, Frederick County, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Prince William County.

“Testing these notification systems is an important part of our preparedness system,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “During an imminent weather emergency or other serious threat, these alerts will save lives.”

During this test, it is possible that individuals may receive more than one alert message. Those who travel from one jurisdiction to another may hear messages from each jurisdiction. Also, people who live or travel in areas near the jurisdictions listed above may also receive the message because this technology uses cellular carrier towers.

Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems help assess the operational readiness of the system and identify any improvements. Public safety officials need to be sure that in times of an emergency or disaster, they have reliable methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public. Conducting a regional test supports the continued use, training, and improvement of the WEA system.

“Drills like these help us to ensure that our systems allow emergency managers to quickly communicate with you,” said Russ Strickland, executive director of MEMA. “During an incident, it is important to listen to messages and information from federal, state, and local officials and communicate any protective actions with your family, friends, and neighbors.”

Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system has been used more than 33,000 times nationwide to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations. Additional information on WEA is located at: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/wireless-emergency-alerts-wea.