BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Agencies across the state are rushing to get ready for a surge of water. They are ready resources they hope they do not have to use.
But at this point, flooding and power outages are major concerns, and crews are doing what they can to work ahead of the storm.
Those who will be on the front lines to face down the Category 5 storm are using every remaining minute to get ready, get set and wait.
In Ocean City, where sand already covers most of the boardwalk from recent storms, Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald said concerns over hurricane or tropical force storm winds are just half the battle.
The other half could be flooding and storm surge, particularly on the bay side where a lot of homes are.
“There’s not much we can do to stop water from rising,” said Ocean City Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald.
With so much of the state’s waterways already saturated from recent storms, Natural Resources Police are urging boaters to stay off the water, even moving some boats from other coastal areas.
“One mistake, and you know, it can be fatal,” said Captain Brian Rathgeb with Natural Resources Police.
Rescue boats are loaded in Baltimore County, where the already wet summer has been barely a warm-up for the weather to come.
“Probably, if it starts raining pretty good and we start to get flooding in different areas and neighborhoods, we could very well be doubling up crews and living on these boats,” said Lt. Jeff Lowe with Baltimore County Fire.
That’s what happened back in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel left Bowley’s Quarter under ten feet of water.
“They were there for days,” Lowe said.
This storm could be even more punishing.
“We’ve gotten so much rain in the last few days, the last week, and grounds are already saturated,” said Chas Eby with Maryland Emergency Management Agency.
Months of relentless rain have soaked much of the state, leaving nowhere for the water to go.
In Baltimore City, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management is also closely watching Florence’s movement.
“We’re coordinating with everybody to be ready to go throw the kitchen sink at it, all hands on deck,” said David McMillian, Director of Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management.
So as the monster in the Atlantic barrels toward the Carolinas, spin-off storms bring more risk for deadly flooding and devastating storm surges.
There is the possibility that some parts of Maryland could go dark.
“We’re making a determination of how many resources we need. How much equipment we need, how many crews we want to pull from.”
Baltimore Gas and Electric is also mobilizing.
“We want to make sure we have resources coming in, we’ve pulled on external crews from other energy companies and from our sister utilities in Chicago and Philadelphia.
BGE started shifting supplies out of warehouses to staging areas Tuesday.
The state is in the process of setting shelters, but they are also urging people to do what they can to have supplies at home. There are roughly 800 workers ready to tackle whatever comes Maryland, or even the Carolinas’ way.