ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially starts today and the Maryland Department of Emergency Management reminds people who live in, work in, or visit Maryland to Know Your Zone if a large storm requires evacuations from coastal and tidal areas. This season will also mark the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Agnes, still the deadliest named storm in State history.
Recent hurricane seasons have been unusually busy – 2020 set a record for named Atlantic Hurricanes – so it is important to Know Your Zone, and also have an emergency plan, a disaster supply kit, and multiple ways to receive warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency officials. Last year, Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico, still managed to cause tornadoes and flooding in Maryland and dangerous flash floods in the New York City area.
“Hurricane Ida taught us yet again that you don’t need to live in a coastal community to feel the impacts of tropical systems,” said Maryland Secretary of Emergency Management Russ Strickland. “While coastal storm surge and hurricane force winds are vivid images of hurricanes, in our area, inland flooding and tornadoes can be the biggest threats to life and property.”
When the remnants of Ida passed over Maryland last summer, several tornadoes were spawned, inducing one that caused substantial damage in the Annapolis area. Heavy rains also caused flash floods, inundating basement apartments at a complex in Montgomery County that led to a drowning. Farther up the coast, Ida’s heavy rains caused widespread flooding in New York City subway tunnels.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season.
For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.
Marylanders should Know Your Zone to see if the places you live, work, or visit are in one of Maryland’s three evacuation zones. The Know Your Zone program allows local emergency officials to order evacuations by letter zones (A, B, and C) to more easily provide information to those in the area.
Here are some additional considerations while planning for hurricanes and other hazards:
- Plan now! Do not wait until the peak of hurricane season.
- Pay attention to emergency information and alerts.
- Determine your best protection for high winds and flooding.
- Unless you live in an evacuation zone, make a plan to shelter-in-place in your home if it is safe to do so.
- If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone, make a plan with friends or family to shelter with them where you will be safer and more comfortable.
- Check with local authorities for the latest information about public evacuation shelters. Many may still require the use of masks.
- Only use outdoor generators that are at least 20 feet away from your home and away from windows, doors, and vents.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
For access to preparedness tips and information, install the MdReady web app by visiting MdReady.Maryland.gov on your mobile device’s web browser. To receive text alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards that may affect Maryland, text “MdReady” to 211-MD1 (211-631).