Although the start of the Atlantic hurricane season is two months away, Maryland emergency preparedness officials said “now is the time for federal, state and local government agencies and non-profit and private partners to plan for this season’s storms.”
To that end, Maryland officials recently attended the 2015 National Hurricane Conference in Austin, Texas to learn about best practices in hurricane preparedness and apply new techniques to emergency management operations within the state.
Each year, scientists meet with emergency managers and other officials from across hurricane vulnerable states at this annual conference to share findings regarding atmospheric conditions that predicate the development of hurricanes and to discuss strategies with emergency managers as to how best to convey risks and preparedness measures to the public.
“Hurricanes can produce winds in excess of 155 miles per hour, heavy thunderstorms and flooding. Many Maryland communities, including those on ocean coastlines, near the Chesapeake Bay or in mountainous regions are at risk to be negatively affected by these storms,” said the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
Continuing, the agency emphasized that, “Tidal surge is a dangerous hazard often caused by hurricanes,” and noted that “the National Hurricane Conference puts subject matter experts, weather forecasters and emergency managers in the same room to discuss this and similar risks and learn how to best protect our state.”
“MEMA regularly conducts risk assessments to help protect Maryland,” said Executive Director Clay Stamp. “It is my duty to work with Gov. Larry Hogan to formulate the state’s response while also coordinating resource support to local emergency managers prior to, during, and after hurricanes.”
MEMA stated, “Maryland residents and community leaders alike are no strangers to dangerous weather striking.
“Ocean City has experienced hurricanes numerous times in the past,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “This conference affords us the opportunity to discuss our town’s best practices in hurricane response and learn from the expertise of my colleagues around the country, too. Hurricane preparedness planning continues to be the most effective way to mitigate the impacts of these storms.”
“State and local jurisdictions in Maryland regularly partner in hurricane preparedness and response planning,” MEMA said, adding, “In conjunctionwith an established planning process, attending conferences such as this one expose area emergency managers to new technologies to alert the public to weather threats and provide information and resources to help Marylanders prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes."
Photo: From left to right: Ross Buzzuro, Ocean City Police; Roger Steger, Ocean City Emergency Management; Rick Meehan, Mayor, Ocean City; Jeremy Goldman, Dorchester County Emergency Management Agency; Gary Zamerski, Maryland Emergency Management Agency; Marianne Souders, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security; Joe Theobold, Ocean City Emergency Management; Clay Stamp, Maryland Emergency Management Agency; Tom Kane, Worcester County Emergency Management; Fred Webster, Worcester County Emergency Management; Jim Bass, Talbot County Emergency Management Division.