What you need to know ahead of potential evacuations

What you need to know ahead of potential evacuations
Posted at 11:52 AM, Sep 11, 2018

Hurricane Florence may not be hitting Maryland directly, but that doesn't mean we are in the clear.

WMAR-2 News is working for you and trying to prepare you in case evacuations are necessary.

Know Your Zone:

Maryland has three different evacuation zones you should be aware of: A, B, and C. The zones are placed in areas that surround coasts so if a severe storm hits, residents can be directed to evacuate.

Each zone will have a different time they should evacuate so the roads are not overwhelmed by everyone leaving at one time. Different zones will also be directed to evacuate to certain locations. 

It's important to notice that not everyone will have a zone, only residents who live by the coast. 

Click here to see the locations of each zone. You can also plug in your address to see which zone you are in. 

Evacuation Zone A: Red

Evacuation Zone B: Yellow

Evacuation Zone C: Blue

How will I know when to evacuate?

When a storm is coming close to Maryland, emergency managers will determine which zones are the most at risk depending on the storm's intensity, path, speed, tides, and other factors. Officials will then alert local media and use social media to tell what each zone should do. 

Officials say that depending on the emergency, you may not be instructed to evacuate, but to stay at home or move to higher ground. 

How to evacuate:

According to Maryland Emergency Management, this is what you need to know before and while you are evacuating. 

Before you leave: 

  • Secure your personal property and business; remove household chemicals from the garage floor and underneath your kitchen sink. Floodwater mixed with chemicals is hazardous to you and your pet’s health.
  • Pack your emergency kit, critical documentation, and valuables, and review your emergency communications plan.
  • Keep your fuel tank filled and withdraw cash from an ATM to have on hand for necessities including food, bottled water, medication, fuel, and lodging expenses.

When evacuating:

  • Do not walk through moving water or drive into flooded areas. Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most cars causing loss of control and possible stalling; a foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Monitor airline and train travel for delays and cancellations, especially if these modes of transportation are part of your evacuation plan.
  • Make lodging arrangements prior to or at the start of your evacuation by asking to stay with friends or family or by making hotel arrangements in a region that is not under threat from the storm.
  • Use apps on your smartphone that identify the latest traffic patterns, gas stations with available fuel and hotels with vacancies.
  • Keep your out-of-town emergency contact, family members and friends informed of your location and progress throughout the evacuation process. Consistently monitor local media coverage and listen to local and state officials.

Emergency information and resources

  • Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) -  Download the MEMA app to receive Maryland regional alerts, preparedness tips for hazards, and more.
  • Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) State Highway Administration (SHA) - Dial 5-1-1 for real-time traffic information.
  • Maryland State Police (MSP) - Dial #77 from a mobile device to report a reckless or dangerous driver to the State Police. Dial 9-1-1 for the nearest law enforcement office.
  • National Weather Service (NWS) - For active alerts, radar images, forecast maps and additional resources.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program - Download the FEMA app to receive alerts, safety reminders, tips, local shelter info and more.

Maryland receives weather information from four weather service stations.

Who to call: MEMA says these are the State of Maryland Hotlines

  • 2-1-1: 24/7, statewide trained professionals who listen to your situation and offer sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in Maryland. Visit for more information.
  • 3-1-1: In select localities throughout the state, 3-1-1 connects callers to their local government, nonemergency, citizen services including information, services, key contacts and programs.
  • 5-1-1: Maryland 511 offers real-time traffic information throughout the state, including access to the state’s system of traffic cameras. Anytime you need it, anywhere you are. For more information, visit
  • 7-1-1: Maryland Relay was established in 1991 to serve Marylanders who have difficulty using a standard telephone and provides a vast array of solutions to meet the diverse needs of our State. For more information, visit
  • 8-1-1: "Miss Utility," is a free communications center for excavators, contractors, property owners and those planning any kind of excavation or digging. When recovering from a disaster, an individual or business may plan to excavate. Before any digging, call 8-1-1, where participating utilities will locate and mark their underground facilities and lines in advance to prevent a possible injury, damage or monetary fine.
  • 9-1-1: For emergencies only, including fire, medical, reporting accidents, crimes in progress and suspicious individuals or events. 9-1-1 is not to be used for traffic or weather updates and information request, please keep the lines clear for those seeking emergency support.

Other important information:

Click here for the full Maryland Hurricane Evacuation Guide

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