Getting prepared for Florence: what you need to know before it hits

Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 11, 2018

Amid the uncertainty of what Hurricane Florence may mean for Maryland, one thing is for certain: it's time to prepare for the worst. A lot of people were out shopping today grabbing water and other necessities.  

"I purchased a couple cases of water from Walmart and some Powerade, and they going through it like water," one Essex resident said. 

"I grabbed some water, just to play it safe," Erin Durange from Hawthorne said. 

"All of our disaster response plans are based on the idea that you're on your own for 3 days," academic director for University of Maryland School of Law Center for Health and Homeland Security Michael Vesely said. 

He said that means two gallons of water per person per day, plus plenty of food. He says officials prepare for storms like this, but people need to be prepared too, and not just those on the coast or in flood-prone areas. 

"For any part of the state to think that we are off the hook and couldn't face any potential risk would be folly," Vesely said.

Vesely says the challenges with Florence will probably be similar to Hurricane Harvey that hit Texas last summer. 

"Where it gets very close, makes landfall and stalls. In some hurricanes, most of the damage comes from winds and coastal inundation but this storm is probably going to be damage coming from the large, massive amounts of rain we are going to get," Vesely said. 

A few more things to be aware of: make sure all the areas around your home can drain properly. If the power goes out, stay away from candles. 

"That's the first instinct of many people but if there are sustained winds, the fire department may not be able to get to you," Vesely said.

Safer alternatives are glow sticks, flashlights and LED lights. Vesely says take evacuation orders very seriously. You can prepare for them now by planning where you will go and how you will get there if you have to leave your home. Have a go bag packed and the car fully fueled.