Maryland Prepares And Waits For Hurricane Irene

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ)– The waiting game. As Hurricane Irene swirls our way, the East Coast prepares for a hard hit of heavy rain and whipping wind.

Weijia Jiang tells us what the state is doing to prepare for this storm.

Governor Martin O’Malley had a conference call with the president Friday morning because the state is working very closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide local jurisdictions any resources they might need. They’re also talking about how to deal with the potentially devastating aftermath.

O’Malley and the heads of every state agency are camped out at the Maryland Emergency Operations Center in Reisterstown, processing every model of Hurricane Irene as she inches closer by the second.

Not mincing any words, he calls it “a monster storm.”

“This is the real deal,” he said. “This is a big, deadly and dangerous storm.”

“Not only will it have the wind and the surge issues that we’ve dealt with in the past, but now we’re going to deal with 100 mile an hour winds, sustained winds for a good period of time,” explained Richard Muth of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

Priorities include handling evacuations along the coast, monitoring bridges and roads that may need to be shut down, and deploying help. The state National Guard and federal troops are in place. So are utility workers expected to handle a widespread power outage. BGE has called on help from as far south as Mississippi.

“Our goal, of course, is to restore service as safely and quickly as possible, but we think this storm has the potential to cause upwards of 500,000 outages,” BGE spokesperson Linda Foy said. “So, if we see a storm with that sort of impact, it’s going to take several days.”

In vulnerable areas like Bowleys Quarters, home and boat owners are preparing too after 2003’s Isabel flooded the entire waterfront community.

“Our concern is that we will get flooded and water will get in the house and do damage,” one Bowleys Quarters resident said.

“The lesson I learned from Isabel is, I can’t stop the water from coming in,” explained another. “It’s going to come in.”

The governor said everyone should have enough supplies and medication to last 72 hours. He, along with the rest of the management team, will be working all day and night starting Saturday, until the storm rolls through.

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The City of Baltimore has declared a state of emergency Friday night. The city is providing load after load of sandbags for residents to board their homes and businesses.

Meghan McCorkell was in Fells Point, where officials are telling people to prepare for the worst.

As Hurricane Irene barrels towards Maryland, the fear factor is rising.

“It’s nerve-wrecking. It really is. It’s nerve-wrecking. We’ll see,” said Toshia Johnson, a Baltimore resident who is preparing for the hurricane.

“We’ve gone to the grocery store. We’ve stocked up. So we’re just kind of waiting it out,” Nicole Smalley said.

While some businesses try to make light of the storm, they know Irene is no joke.

“This is the real deal,” O’Malley said. “This is a big, deadly, dangerous storm.”

Everyone is pitching in, filling sandbags in Fells Point.

“I didn’t fill them. I just holded them up,” 6-year-old Xander Lucio said.

As people stock up on supplies, the city is ordering cars to get out of the flood zone.

Drivers here in Fells Point are being warned to move any cars south of Eastern Avenue off the streets by Saturday afternoon.

Free parking is being offered starting at 8 a.m. at the Caroline Street garage, the Fleet and Eden garage and the Edison parking lot.

“Everyone has to be on high alert and make sure they have what they need to get through this,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

“We’ve got pumps,” said Bill Irvin of Kooper’s Taven. “We’ve got all kinds of things just to protect us.”

Irvin knows how dangerous the hurricane can be after having faced Isabel.

“You’ll see the boats there will be on the street,” he said. “They’ll come up that far. It’s going to be scary.”

Preparation is the key until we know what wrath Irene will bring. The mayor is warning all residents to get ready ahead of the storm. Because once it’s here, it will be too late.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– People on both sides of the Bay Bridge are moving to higher ground, including in our state’s capital. Monique Griego has more on how Annapolis is preparing for the worst.

The mayor is asking everyone in the low-lying areas to evacuate.

Local business owners are also preparing for the worst.

Still, that didn’t stop people from heading to City Dock to enjoy, one last night before Irene is expected to hit.

As the clouds rolled in over Annapolis, people flooded the streets of city dock less than 24 hours before Irene is expected to flood it with water.

“It’s tomorrow, we’ll get something good to eat. Then go home, get things out of our basement and get ready as much as we can,” said Lewis Biggers, an Annapolis resident.

Tourists enjoyed the calm before the storm, as shop owners stocked up on sandbags. The city handed out almost 2,500. But they went fast. Now people are packing up and moving out.

“We started clearing out around 3:30 p.m. and are trying to move everything out and wait for the flood,” said business owner David George.

The city Emergency Operations Center is already up and running. The mayor is asking everyone in low-lying areas to evacuate before it’s too late.

“It is the height of selfishness for people to put not only themselves but emergency responders in danger,” Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen said.

In Eastport, homeowners are tying things down before leaving.

“We’re leaving here this evening,” Annapolis resident William Goodman said. “We should be out by 10 o’clock.”

Back at City Dock, one shop holds an eerie reminder of the damage caused by the last hurricane.

When Isabel hit in 2003, this entire area flooded with several feet of water, including the Market House. This time shop owners there aren’t taking any chances.

They’re wrapping up or moving things to higher ground. While no one knows what’s to come, people here don’t think Irene is overhyped.

“I wish it would just blow out to sea but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Goodman said.

Annapolis police will be patrolling evacuated areas Friday night to make sure there isn’t any looting. City leaders say Annapolis High School will be used as a temporary shelter.

To check if you live in a flood-prone area, and for precautions on what you can do if you do, visit the Maryland Emergency Agency website.

  • Mike Bagwell

    we can only hope it washes way all the drug thugs on the corners of Baltimore city

    • Tom

      All the drugs washed to sea would make for a chemical hazard.

  • Concern

    American Red Cross: raises 7.7 Million. ( raises 5.6 Million

  • Tom

    35-40mph winds, and a 1-3 foot storm surge now. The path has also been pushed out to sea further. Stop over-exaggerating. It’ll be a tropical depression when it reaches here.

  • Gman

    Crank up the hype machines….

    I guess when we have no snow to report lets use the rain, this will mostly effect the OC area I get that but let’s not make this the end of world storm like I’m hearing. Many gas stations are flooded with cars right now in the columbia area and bank ATM’s are next when will we learn not to listen to this boloney. Are leader claims and stome of historical damage lets see how fast FEMA moves in to help after this , this is the Katrina of the east coast lets see if the stars will coma out to raise money for this aftermath of destruction……..

  • Gman

    Sorry for the typos fingers moving to fast

  • deltasweetiepi

    Well let them have their go at it and thank God nothing really bad is happening around the Maryland area at the moment.

  • eastern shore

    it may be fin for the western shor but it will be a problm for the eastrn shore or did you all forget that we are part of Maryland. thank you all for your narrow minds. but dont worry we can take care of ourselves.

  • eastern shore

    I too am sorry for my typo’s but I was frustrated and typed quick

  • jay

    Gov. O’Mally and the other politicians are paid to over hype the rain storm when it arrives in Maryland.

  • boops

    This is all being over blown so everyone goes out and spends money they don’t need to and then they’ll say Oh Consumer Spending is up-the economy is getting better. We;ve had nor-easters stronger than this will be once it arrives.

  • Christine K Morris

    FYI not all of Maryland is the Western Shore…We are in the immediate danger on the Eastern Shore, you know the part you vacation at, and to make jokes of something that will be devastating to my area is rude.

  • Tami

    Lets just hope and pray that the Eastern Shore of MD will not have as much damage as has been reported. Hopefully the storm will track further out to sea and spare the coastal areas of the entire US. I for one always remember that the Eastern Shore is very much a part of MD and a very important part of agriculture and tourism economy for the state. Just know that you are very much cared for by many of us living on the Western Shore!!!

  • Kurt

    Being that I live on the edge of Bowleys Quarters, it is a real threat. It may not be for most of you that are inland a bit but for those of us along the water’s edge, the threat couldn’t be more real. Hang tight Bowleys Quarters!

  • Western Shore

    The Eastern Shore is racist. Im black, so what if I have enough money to vacation where everybody else vacations. Not my fault I’m successful. My family and I were verbally attacked by a group of white supremacists calling my aunt, my grandmother , and I the N-word while we had my daughter and my aunts three daughters with us. All women, All Black & children were all ages 9 and under. I hope the best for the Eastern Shore, but I dont care too much for the people in it.

  • Christine K Morris

    You have the nerve to classify everyone on the Eastern Shore as a racist? Seems impossible for a successful man to be so one minded. The situation that happened to you is on all counts terrible but DON’T ever make a statement insinuating that the entire Eastern Shore is represented by a few white supremacists.

  • Irene

    How does a conversation about a HURRICANE turn into a conversation about RACISM?

  • Marylander

    That person who goes by the tag “western shore” is either an unintelligent black person, or a semi illiterate white supremacist making a bad attempt at impersonation, or one of those teenagers whose pastime is to deliberately post hateful comments online about people. What we see here is a very stupid comment that is uncalled for, and very hateful. I urge everyone to ignore the comment. Thank you.

  • Carol Zimmerman

    it is just as bad to downgrade a weather event as it is to turn it into more than what it is. I feel there is no harm in being prepared for an event and is certainly smarter than hiding your head in the sand about this storm. Whatever happens will happen.

  • Western Shore

    “Marylander” youre a racist too, calling me an unintelligent black person, I just cant stand people like you, When I went to the ES my family got all types of mean stares from people just like you. Also, I never said anything hateful and last time I checked it wouldnt matter if I did because I have these things called rights and Im allowed to voice my opinion. I dont like people like any of you that try to monitor others, how dare you! Like I said before, I hoped the best for the ES but I could care less about the people in it….too bad two children died during the storm when it could have been hateful racist lumps of waste like you both. Neither of you probably have any black friends. I have plenty of white ones and other races too, you think were beneath you but guess what…?? THE PRESIDENT IS A BLACK MAN so get over it you republican fools LOL youll be lucky to hear from me again, i have better things to do than back and forth with you loons.

  • truthteller

    eastern shore snobs want to live on the water but when they have bad weather they run over to the western shore for protection.they deserve what they get.

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