This is the current storm path as reported by AccuWeather at  2 p.m. Oct. 3

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Tri-County Area  Updated Oct. 1

SMECO urges residents to prepare for power outages

Southern Maryland faces potential heavy rains and high winds this weekend. Area residents are urged to take steps to prepare for possible weather-related power outages. Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is monitoring weather forecasts, and co-op crews are prepared to restore power if outages occur.

According to SMECO spokesperson Tom Dennison, “As always, SMECO personnel are monitoring the weather forecast and preparing to respond to any outages that may result from falling trees and flooding.” Dennison added, “If customers experience a power outage, they have a number of easy ways to report it. They can call 1-877-74-SMECO (1-877-747-6326), go online to our website, www.smeco.coop, or use SMECO’s text messaging service. We also have a SMECO 24/7 free mobile app available that will allow customers to report an outage, view our outage map, or make a payment. We encourage customers to download the app or register for the texting service before bad weather hits.” Customer-members can get more information about the app and text messaging service on SMECO’s website at smeco.coop/SMECO247.

SMECO’s outage restoration policy is to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time. Transmission lines and substations are repaired first, followed by distribution lines that feed neighborhoods. Tap lines and individual service lines are then repaired to restore power to customers who may still be without electricity.

Customers can view a two-minute video, “Preparing for a Power Outage” to help them take steps to get ready in case an outage occurs.  Customers can access the video on the co-op’s website at smeco.coop/safety/outages/hurricane-readiness.

The following is a list of steps customers can take to prepare for power interruptions.

  • If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging. For county shelter information, call SMECO’s special needs number: 1-866-524-9402. In addition, check with your local fire department, which may offer temporary shelter.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, use extension cords to connect what you want to power directly to the generator. Place your generator outside, not in an attic, crawl space, or basement. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly. Make sure your generator is connected safely; a generator that is not connected safely can cause serious injury or death. When your power comes back on, turn off and disconnect your generator immediately.
  • Keep flashlights and fresh batteries on hand. Lanterns and candles are not recommended because they can cause fires.
  • Stock nonperishable foods and keep a manual can opener handy. The ideal choices are foods that require no cooking, such as fruit, canned tuna, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, cereal bars, canned soup, and bread.
  • Do not stock your refrigerator or freezer with foods that may perish during a power outage.
  • If you plan to use a charcoal or gas grill for cooking, keep the grill outdoors.
  • If your water at home is supplied by a well, store extra water in clean jugs, bathtubs, or laundry tubs.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries and stay tuned to local news bulletins and weather reports.
  • Make sure that you have a standard phone available. Cordless phones do not work without electricity. If you use a cell phone, an auto adapter may be needed to recharge your phone.
  • Keep your automobile gas tank above half full.
  • Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • As in preparing for any other emergency, maintain a supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM machines may not work if the power is out

If your power goes out:

  • Call SMECO’s Outage Hotline at 1-877-74-SMECO or 1-877-747-6326. Customers may also download the SMECO 24/7 app, use SMECO’s text messaging service, or go to the co-op’s website to report the outage online at smeco.coop/account/report-an-outage.
  • Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines. Contact with live lines may result in serious injury or death. Let qualified SMECO crews handle the clearing and repair work. Please report downed power lines to SMECO immediately by calling 1-888-440-3311.
  • Open the freezer and refrigerator as little as possible. This will help food stay fresh longer.
  • Make sure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away.
  • Turn off all the major appliances in your home, especially the heat pump. This will prevent damage to the appliances once the power is restored. Then, try not to turn everything back on at once; turn on appliances gradually so the electric demand does not jump suddenly.

St. Mary’s County Updated Oct. 1

Closings & delays (click here)

Sandbag pick ups

The St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works & Transportation advises residents of the following:

As a part of the readiness and pre-emergency phase, the County is making sandbags available for use by residents. This is a self-serve process and staff will be on-site to monitor, but will have limited availability to assist in the filling or loading of sandbags.

Sandbags are not pre-filled and each individual will be limited to between 10-25 sandbags while supplies last. Sand, bags, and shovels will be available at all six (6) convenience centers for County residents wishing to obtain sandbags in preparation for the effects of Hurricane Joaquin.

The convenience centers are located at:

  • ​Charlotte Hall – 37766 New Market Turner Road
  • Oakville – 26630 North Sandgates Road
  • Clement’s – 24547 Horseshoe Road
  • St. Andrews – 44595 St. Andrews Church Road
  • Valley Lee – 45350 Happyland Road
  • Ridge – 13939 Point Lookout Road

The convenience centers will operate under extended hours for this effort as follows:

  • Thursday, October 1, 2015: from noon to 6:30 pm
  • Friday, October 2, 2015: from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm
  • Saturday, October 3, 2015: return to normal hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Approximately 1,000 sandbags and 20 tons of sand will initially be available at each site. Additional bags are scheduled for delivery Thursday afternoon.

Sandbags provide limited protection, but are intended to redirect small storm water and debris flows away from structures. It is suggested that residents lay a plastic sheet between the building and the bags to control the flow and prevent water from seeping into the door or window wells.


St. Mary’s County Government Continues to Monitor Hurricane Joaquin – 10/2 11:30 a.m.

The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services & Technology continues to closely monitor the activity of Hurricane Joaquin. We advise residents to closely follow weather reports and prepare for the possibility of its impact in the region over the next few days.

Hurricane Joaquin is forecast to move north from the Bahamas. The center is now likely to remain offshore as it travels north along the eastern seaboard this weekend. Although there remains uncertainty in the details of how significantly the storm will impact the region, a storm track that remains further east and offshore would present less impact. However flooding due to heavy rain, damaging winds and tidal flooding is possible through Monday.

• A Flash Flood Watch is in effect until 8 a.m. Saturday, October 3
A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

• Coastal Flood Advisory is in effect until 10 p.m. this evening
A coastal flood advisory indicates onshore winds and tides will combine to generate flooding of low areas along the shore.

Remember …

Turn Around Don’t Drown
NEVER drive through flooded roadways – you do not know the condition of the road under the water.


Emergency Services and Technology Monitoring Progress of Joaquin

The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services & Technology is closely monitoring the activity of Hurricane Joaquin, currently in the Atlantic Ocean. Residents are advised to closely follow weather reports and prepare for the possibility of its arrival and or impact in the region over the next few days.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING for St. Mary’s County.  There is the potential for Fresh Water Flooding to occur Friday through Saturday with 3-5″ of rain expected. Wind and rain is likely to begin tonight.

Hurricane Joaquin’s path remains uncertain. Storm surge and winds are highly dependent on the track of Joaquin but rainfall from the storm is expected Sunday through Monday with additional amounts of between 3-5 inches predicted.  There is the potential for strong damaging winds and flooding as a result of this storm.

You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours.  For a detailed list of recommended items visit www.ready.gov.

Check your property for weak tree limbs, and remember to secure outdoor furniture. The probability is higher this time of the year for downed trees and tree limbs. Power outages are expected due to the powerful winds from this storm.. Residents are encouraged to secure all loose items on their property such as outdoor furniture. 

The Emergency Services and Technology is participating in ongoing National Weather Service conference calls to receive the latest information on the storm’s track.


Metcom Advises Customers to Prepare for Hurricane Joaquin

As southern Maryland prepares for Hurricane Joaquin, St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) encourages all customers to prepare an emergency water supply and to take the following actions to prevent damage and flooding of the wastewater systems:

  •  If your basement or yard is equipped with a sewer drain access, make sure that your building sewer drain access cap is not broken and it is securely tightened; never remove this cap.
  • If your property is equipped with a sewage grinder pump, make sure the vault lid for the pump is not ajar.

If you experience a power outage, please conserve your water usage, especially if your property is equipped with a sewage grinder pump. The sewage grinder pump will sound an alarm for several minutes once electrical power is restored; however please contact MetCom at 301.373.5305 if the alarm continues.


Well Water Advisory in Case of Storm Surge

In case of a storm surge from a potential weather event that may cause flooding of individual wells, homeowners are advised to disinfect their wells if they know or suspect that flood waters have entered and contaminated their systems.  The St. Mary’s County Health Department urges residents to use bottled water or an alternative safe source until disinfection and follow-up testing is complete. If residents do not have access to bottled water or an alternative source, their well water should be boiled for 3-5 minutes in a clean container before use.

“People who obtain their water from an individual well should disinfect the well and distribution system if floodwaters reached and entered the well casing.  In order to safeguard public health and personal well being, it is best to use a safe source until disinfection is complete and testing shows the water to be safe,” said Daryl Calvano, Environmental Health Services division director at the health department.

A fact sheet providing information about disinfecting wells and step-by-step instructions for taking this precaution are available at the St. Mary’s County Health Department or by visiting their website at www.smchd.org. Residents should contact the health department’s Environmental Health Services division at 301-475-4321 regarding specific questions they may have about testing and well safety.


Heavy Rain to Continue Throughout St. Mary’s County

Leonardtown, MD – With heavy rains impacting much of St. Mary’s County, on top of significant rainfall earlier this week, residents should make appropriate preparations for flooding that may be occur over the next 48 hours. Emergency Services & Technology is also monitoring Hurricane Joaquin, which is currently located in the Bahamas but may turn to the north on Friday.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency for Maryland and has instructed state agencies to begin readying resources in the event the Hurricane makes landfall near Maryland. Local agencies and Emergency Services & Technology will work closely with the State to ensure an efficient response.

There are a number of actions that citizens can take to prepare for severe weather and flooding:

  • Clean storm drains and gutters on your house to prevent overflow and water buildup.
  • Don’t wait. Communicate. Know how to get in contact with your friends and family during any emergency.
  • Because of the saturated soil, even minor winds could cause power outages. Be prepared to be without electricity. While the power is still on, keep cell phones, tablets, other devices and back-up batteries fully charged.
  • Fuel up your automobile before any storm and make sure to have car chargers available for devices. In a power outage, you can use your car to charge cell phones and tablets.
  • If you have a basement in your house, shelve household items and make sure any electronic equipment is not lying directly on the floor.
  • Listen to instructions from local officials and know the current forecast by following your local emergency management office, forecasters, and news stations.

The National Weather Service has noted that the exact path of this system will not be clear until later this week; however, any impact could bring additional rain and wind.


Charles County updated 11:52 p.m. Oct. 2

Closings & delays (click here)

Sandbag pick ups

The Charles County Department of Emergency Services has received additional sandbags for county residents who need them to protect property. Sandbags and sand will be available on Friday, Oct. 2 from noon to 8 p.m. or until bags and/or sand supply is depleted.   This will be the last day for sandbag distribution.

Residents are responsible for picking up empty sandbags at the Department of Emergency Services building (10425 Audie Lane, off of Radio Station Road in La Plata) located on the front porch under the awning, transporting the bags to Laurel Springs Park, and filling the bags with sand.  Sand will be available in the first parking lot at Laurel Springs Park (5940 Radio Station Rd, La Plata). 

There is a limit of 10 bags per person. Residents should bring a shovel to fill the bags. No shovels or other tools will be provided.

Severe weather notices are posted online at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov, on CCGTV which broadcasts on Verizon channel 10 and Comcast channel 95, www.facebook.com/CharlesCounty and www.twitter.com/CharlesCoMD. Sign up for the Citizen Notification System at www.CharlesCountyCNS.com to receive inclement weather and traffic alerts by e-mail or phone. Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.


Charles County Government sand distribution continues for county residents who need them to protect property. Due to high demand, sandbags are no longer available. Residents are encouraged to purchase bags from a local home improvement store, and bring them to the sand distribution location at Laurel Springs Park (5940 Radio Station Road, La Plata). Residents should bring a shovel to fill bags. No shovels or other tools will be provided. Distribution is scheduled to continue until sand supply is depleted. If sand runs out prior to 8 p.m., distribution will cease until further notice.


Due to the National Weather Service forecast, the Charles County Department of Emergency Services is providing sandbags to county residents who need them to protect property.

Sandbags and sand will be available on Thursday, Oct. 1 from noon to 8 p.m.  Residents are responsible for picking up empty sandbags at the Department of Emergency Services building (10425 Audie Lane, off of Radio Station Road in La Plata) located on the front porch under the awning, transporting the bags to Laurel Springs Park, and filling the bags with sand.  Sand will be available in the first parking lot at Laurel Springs Park (5940 Radio Station Rd, La Plata).


There is a limit of 10 bags per person. Residents should bring a shovel to fill the bags. No shovels or other tools will be provided.

Severe weather notices are posted online at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov, on CCGTV which broadcasts on Verizon channel 10 and Comcast channel 95, www.facebook.com/CharlesCounty and www.twitter.com/CharlesCoMD. Sign up for the Citizen Notification System at www.CharlesCountyCNS.com to receive inclement weather and traffic alerts by e-mail or phone. Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.


State of emergency declared

At 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy signed an order declaring a local state of emergency in Charles County.  The declaration is made to ensure the Department of Emergency Services has authority to engage, deploy, and coordinate available resources to protect Charles County residents’ lives and property in the event of severe weather impact from Hurricane Joaquin.  The state of emergency order will be in effect for up to seven days.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting heavy rain throughout the end of this week for the State of Maryland. Rainfall is likely to continue at least through the weekend, with the potential of 5 to 10 inches of total precipitation throughout much of the state. Some areas will receive higher amounts, which could produce flooding of rivers, streams, ponds, and low-lying areas.

The Department of Emergency Services encourages residents to prepare for potential flooding, and recommends that residents take the following precautionary actions:

  • Clean storm drains and gutters on your house to prevent overflow and water buildup.
  • Don’t wait. Communicate. Know how to get in contact with your friends and family during any emergency.
  • Fuel up your automobile before any storm.
  • If you have a basement in your house, shelve household items and make sure any electronic equipment is not lying directly on the floor.

Check to see if you live or work in a flood prone area: http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/floodProneZones.aspx

Listen to instructions from local officials and know the current forecast by following your local emergency management office, forecasters, and news stations.


Calvert CountyUpdated Oct. 2, 11:20 a.m.

Closings & delays (click here)

Calvert County Department of Public Safety Offers Hurricane Preparedness Tips

As Calvert County prepares for Hurricane Joaquin, the Calvert County Department of Public Safety encourages residents to review hurricane preparedness procedures in the event the storm poses a risk for the region.

Prepare for High Winds

  • If necessary, protect all windows with shutters or 5/8-inch plywood panels.
  • Reinforce garage doors.
  • Designate an interior room with no windows or external doors as a “safe room.”
  • Assess your landscaping and trees to ensure they do not become a wind hazard.

Prepare for Flooding

  • When you hear hurricane, think inland flooding.
  • Determine the elevation of your property to learn your vulnerability to flooding.
  • In flood-prone areas, keep on hand materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves.
  • Be aware of areas known to flood so your evacuation routes are not cut off.

As the Storm Approaches

  • Most mobile/manufactured homes are not built to withstand hurricane-force winds. Residents of these homes should relocate to a safer structure when an evacuation order is issued.
  • Secure lawn furniture and other outside objects that could become projectiles in high winds.
  • Listen carefully for safety instructions from local officials. Monitor NOAA weather radio.

During the Storm

  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and doors.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio for storm updates.
  • Have flashlights/batteries handy and avoid open flames and candles.
  • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce damage when power is restored.

After the Storm

  • Stay away from downed or dangling power lines.
  • Beware of weakened tree limbs.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate your house.
  • Use your phone only in emergencies.
  • Do not drive into water of unknown depth.
  • Restrict children from playing in flooded areas.
  • Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with flood waters.
  • Wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking

Residents urged to prepare

With up to 10 inches of rain predicted for the region over the next three days, the Calvert County Department of Public Safety is urging county residents to be prepared for the potential for coastal and inland flooding.

The county is making sand and sand bags available for residents who need them to protect property. Up to 10 sand bags per vehicle may be picked up today, Wednesday, Sept. 30 through Friday, Oct. 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Appeal Salt Dome, 401 Sweetwater Road, Lusby
  • Stafford Road Salt Dome, 335 Stafford Road, Barstow
  • Mt. Hope Community Center, 104 Pushaw Station Road, Sunderland

Residents are encouraged to bring their own bags and shovels. County staff will be available to assist those in need.

To keep abreast of local conditions and emergency information, residents are encouraged to download the free “Prepare Me Calvert” emergency preparedness mobile application now available for iOS (Apple) and Android devices through the Apple App Store or the Google Play market. Residents can also sign up for Calvert County ALERT to receive timely information about various emergency and nonemergency situations. Sign up for Calvert County ALERT online at www.co.cal.md.us and click on the Emergency Alerts button. Those without Internet can contact the Calvert County Division of Emergency Management at 410-535-1600, ext. 2638, to sign up or for additional emergency preparedness information.

For information on Calvert County Government, visit www.co.cal.md.us or like us on Facebook.

Generally the placement of bags is stacked up to three layers with each bag being tamped into place. If sand is not available, residents are advised to use local soil. When sandbags are not available, other containers (i.e. small plastic grocery bags and pillow cases) can be utilized. Once used, homeowners should empty the material in the bags into their yards and then properly discard the bags.


State of MarylandUpdated Oct. 2 at 2:22 p.m.

State of Emergency

Governor Larry Hogan today signed Executive Order 01.01.2015.24 rescinding the state of emergency in eight Maryland counties: Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Montgomery, Howard, and Prince George’s. Based on the current weather projections and recommendations from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the remaining 15 Maryland counties and Baltimore City will remain under the state of emergency until further notice. This allows the state to efficiently coordinate resources between jurisdictions to support response operations.

Yesterday, Governor Hogan signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Maryland in anticipation of heavy rains, potential flooding, and the possibility that Hurricane Joaquin may affect Maryland.

“With the storm moving away from our coasts, we are directing state resources to the counties and areas with the highest potential to need assistance,” said Governor Hogan. “However, the majority of the state still remains under a state of emergency and rain and wind gusts could cause power outages and flooding in low-lying areas. We continue to encourage Marylanders to use common sense and look after family members and neighbors who might need help during this time.”


Governor Larry Hogan Oct. 1 signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Maryland in anticipation of heavy rains, potential flooding, and the possibility that Hurricane Joaquin may affect Maryland.

“While the path of Hurricane Joaquin remains uncertain, taking proactive measures is the first step in preparing for extreme weather and will ensure that resources are available in the areas with the greatest need,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “At this time we are strongly encouraging Marylanders to use common sense in the days ahead and look after family members and neighbors who might need assistance. Now is the time to start preparing for possible flooding or any other hazards.”

The Hogan administration has asked State agencies, including the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), to make preparations for the incoming storms.


Maryland urges hurricane preparedness plans to include pets

With Hurricane Joaquin’s approach, it is important to include pets in your disaster preparedness plans.

If you must evacuate, take pets with you and have a plan on where to send them. Not all shelters allow pets. If you need to locate a shelter for your pet during an emergency or disaster, listen to the radio for instructions from local civil authorities, or contact the county emergency operations center to find a shelter that accepts pets. Maryland has a Pet Sheltering Plan, which will activate when mass care evacuation centers open. For a list of local emergency management offices, see: http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/LocalEOC.aspx

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) recommends that, in the event of a disaster, owners of companion animals:

  • Prepare an animal evacuation kit as detailed by the American Veterinary Medical Association. http://www.avma.org/disaster
  • Take copies of your pet’s vaccination history and medical records with you.
  • Make sure your pet wears a collar with identification (tattoo, ID tag, microchip, etc.) that includes a phone number.
  • Bring a crate, leash, at least a three-day supply of food, water, and all medication your pet takes, and a few of your pet’s favorite toys.
  • Keep a current photo of your pet, in case it gets lost.

For more information about disaster planning, contact the Maryland Emergency Management Agency at 1-877-MEMA-USA or log on to www.mema.maryland.gov.