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Marylanders Encouraged to Prepare, Know Before You Go
Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) maintenance crews are aggressively responding to high water and flooded roads as heavy rains continue through Central Maryland. Since noon on Wednesday, approximately 130 State maintained roads have been closed; more than 100 have been reopened.
SHA is issuing this alert to those planning to travel US 301 south of US 50 to Virginia and southern points, USE ALTERNATES ROUTES: I-95 OR TRAVEL I-495 (Capital Beltway). SHA had to close southbound US 301 in LaPlata due to storm damage.
Nearly 200 SHA maintenance personnel are out and have been through the night placing high water signs and blocking roads with equipment as needed. The storm continues to produce heavy rains particularly in Carroll, Baltimore, Harford, Cecil, Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Montgomery, Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.
“This storm is very different from the effects of Hurricane Irene,” said Acting SHA Administrator Darrell Mobley. “Up to ten inches of rain fell within a 24-hour period, and inevitably water found its own way, causing road closures and dangerous driving conditions. Please heed the warnings - do not drive through high water.”
While most roads have been reopened in the past 24 hours, many roads that typically flood in low-lying areas will likely remain closed as rain stays in the forecast for at least a few more days. In some cases, flooded roads may not yet have been reported so approach low-lying areas with extreme caution.
To keep traffic moving smoothly, SHA is:
• Providing real-time traffic information and storm-related road closures through Maryland’s 511 phone system and at WWW.MD511.ORG as well as www.roads.maryland.gov where you can click on CHART to see live traffic cameras.
• Programmed overhead Variable Message Signs and Traveler Advisory Radios to inform motorists of crashes, delays and route diversions as well as high water warnings.
Here are some tips for motorists:
• Do not try to cross a flooded roadway. Eighty percent of flood-related deaths occur in vehicles. Two feet of rapidly moving water can float a bus and six inches can knock a person off his or her feet.
• Avoid downed or damaged power and transmission wires and cables.
• Stay alert for animals, such as deer, that will be fleeing dangerous areas and crossing roadways.
• Stay alert for traffic signal issues related to power outages. Use extreme caution and do not assume the other drivers will stop or yield.
• Prepare your vehicle by filling the gas tank, checking tire pressure and washer fluid, charging your cell phone and bringing snacks for you and passengers.
• SHA urges motorists to exercise extreme caution as weather conditions change. If you must drive, please buckle up and obey posted speed limits.
In conjunction with other agencies and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), SHA is monitoring the storm from the Statewide Operations Center (SOC) near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. During hurricanes, snow storms and other crises, the SOC doubles as SHA’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) providing access to hundreds of camera images, constant contact with field personnel and quick response to changing conditions. From the EOC, SHA communicates with local jurisdictions, neighboring states, emergency responders and the media.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency stresses awareness and preparedness as heavy rain continues. Go to www.mema.state.md.us for additional information.
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