LA PLATA, Md. – The spring season often brings unpredictable and severe weather to Charles County. Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightning, tornadoes, and flooding.  The Department of Emergency Services encourages residents to be prepared by following some safety precautions:

  • Pre-determine your “safe place” to go during severe weather. Consider your animals when developing this plan.
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit.  Visit for what it should contain.
  • Trim trees with dead branches.
  • Prepare an emergency communication plan, so loved ones will know that you are safe. Plan how your family will be able to reach you if the internet, landline and cell phones are not working.
  • Register/review your profiles for the latest alerts from Charles County Government, Charles County Public Schools, Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the National Weather Service at

Watches vs. Warnings – Know the difference:

The National Weather Service uses the words “watch” and “warning” to alert you to potentially dangerous weather. Knowing the different between the two types of alerts is important.

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Be prepared! Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the counties in the watch area. When a watch is issued, you should stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take Action! Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Take shelter in a substantial building. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
  • Tornado Watch— Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching.
  • Tornado Warning— A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom). In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes.

For additional information and spring weather safety tips, visit:

Charles County Government website:



Charles County Government Television (CCGTV): Comcast channel 95 or Verizon channel 10

SMECO Power Outage Map: (Call 877-747-6326 to report an outage.)