Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Baltimore City is now under a state of an emergency as Hurricane Sandy prepares to deliver a powerful punch in about 48 hours. As the storm moves closer, agencies across our region are prepared for the worst.
Rochelle Ritchie has more.
Everyone is stocking up on water, batteries, food and other essentials. City and state leaders are not taking any chances with this storm declaring state of emergencies across the board and bringing in some much needed help to deal with this monster storm.
Winds of more than 70 miles per hour are expected to blow across the state as Hurricane Sandy inches closer to making landfall. The governor urged residents to be ready.
“You need to prepare to hunker down for a couple of days until this large violent deadly storm passes through our area,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
Web Extra: Gov. Martin O’Malley Declares A State Of Emergency Ahead Of Hurricane Sandy
With Sandy predicted to be worse than hurricanes Isabel and Irene, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is hauling in $1 million worth of extra storm equipment.
“We’re planning for several hundred thousand outages. Without question, the storm is going to come through and we expect it to be a long duration wind event, which is a challenge,” Rob Gould, vice president and director of communications at BGE, said.
Those challenges are being met head on. Two thousand utility workers from out of state will work alongside BGE crews to restore power.
If the lights go out:
“It’s very important for us to have a lot of tree contractors who can go out and help us remove those trees off of electrical equipments,” Rachel Lighty, a spokesperson for BGE, said.
Baltimore County officials say extra police officers will also be on patrol to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We encourage our motorists at a certain point when it becomes to dangerous, do not drive,” Baltimore County’s police chief James Johnson said.
The hurricane could also create a travel nightmare.
“With the scope of this storm, there could very well be flights canceled here at BWI Marshall as well as up and down the East Coast,” Jonathan Dean, a BWI official, said.
Airport officials are warning travelers to be prepared.
Preparation are also underway in Annapolis where rising waters could mean big damage. The city has designated Annapolis High School as a storm shelter for residents and said it will provide transport to the shelter free of charge. Residents can call (410)260-2211 starting at noon on Sunday to schedule transport.
Four city garages– Hillman, Gotts, Knighton and Park Place– will be open from 3 p.m. Sunday for residents to shelter their vehicles and also so the streets remain clear for emergency and utility crews. Vehicles can remain in the garages for the duration of the storm. Mayor Joshua J. Cohen urged residents in low-lying areas, on the coastline or in flood-prone areas to have an evacuation plan in place.
The City of Annapolis call center will also be activated on Sunday at noon. It will be available for residents 24 hours a day for non-emergency calls for the duration of the storm and also as the City deals with its aftermath. Residents experiencing an emergency should call 911.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a state of emergency for Baltimore City late Saturday afternoon. Her jurisdiction is now providing sandbags for residents in flood-prone areas.
“It makes it so much easier to weather a storm when the power goes out, if you have what you need,” she said.
It’s an all-hands-on-deck approach to battling the blow this superstorm is expected to deliver in the days to come.
The city has set up three sandbag sites– one in Rash Field, one in Harbor East and the other in Fells Point.
The Baltimore City Emergency Operations Center will be activated Sunday morning.