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Baltimore Co. prepares for hurricane season; agencies respond to hypothetical storm

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-18 17:15:27-04

Summer storm and hurricane season is underway and Baltimore County officials are working to make sure they are prepared, and so are their residents. 

"We practice hard to respond well," County Executive Don Mohler said. 

This morning, the county's public health and safety officials conducted their annual hurricane preparedness exercise at the Emergency Operations Center in Towson. 

They looked at a hypothetical hurricane similar to Isabel, which caused severe flooding in coastal Baltimore County in 2003. 

Different agencies participated; from the department of public works to the school system. 

"We may be using schools as shelters, so we have schools here to work out issues and resources with the schools," fire division Chief Jay Ringgold said. "What will we be doing 48 hours in advance, 24 hours in advance, during the height of the storm and then recovery efforts after that."

Hurricane season started June 1 and goes through November. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75% chance that this Atlantic hurricane season will be near-normal or above normal, with 1-4 major hurricanes category 3 or above.

"Most severe tropical systems affect our region in August and September. We are off to an early start in Baltimore County," Ringgold said. 

Last month, the Catonsville area was hit hard with 10 inches of rain in just a few hours. 

"It did not take us very long a couple weeks ago to realize how quickly things can go from bad to worse," Mohler said. 

Along with their preparedness, they want residents to be ready too, with the three P's: prescriptions, people and pets. 

"Keep at least one week of prescription supply for yourself and your family members. that's gonna come in handy if we have an emergency. People; check on the elderly and vulnerable people in your neighborhood, your neighbors, members of your family and friends. Make sure they are OK," Director of Health and Human Services, Gregory Branch, said. 

Also, have an emergency plan for your pets in case you have to evacuate and follow @BACOemergency on social media for up-to-date information.