Update #5: 10/28/12 @1400: Romancing The Storm

“This Is A Serious Killer Storm.” Governor Martin O’Malley

Current Conditions/What To Expect

(From The Weather Channel) The winds are definitely picking up now at 14 mph, gusting to 21 mph. By 4 p.m., we should see light rain throughout the entire area. Rain will continue to increase over the next 24 hours. Temperatures will stay in the 50s, with winds increasing up to 25 mph by early evening.

This evening, those wind speeds will increase to 30 mph as the rain becomes steady overnight.

Tomorrow (Monday) is when we will really begin to feel the effects of Sandy, with driving heavy rains with sustained winds between 30 and 50 mph.

Here is the latest projected path of the storm, as of 2:00 p.m. today.

Here is the projected rainfall totals for the duration of the storm. Central Maryland falls in the 8-10 inch range.

Is This The Worst Storm To Ever Hit The East Coast?

There is considerable discussion about the storm surge that will happen in the Chesapeake Bay region. Even without the storm heading straight up the Bay, the surge will be dangerous.

By Dr. Jeff Masters, at http://www.wunderground.com, Published this summary earlier today:

Massive and dangerous Hurricane Sandy has grown to record size as it barrels northeastwards along the North Carolina coast at 10 mph. At 8 am EDT, Sandy’s tropical storm-force winds extended northeastwards 520 miles from the center, and twelve-foot high seas covered a diameter of ocean 1,030 miles across. Since records of storm size began in 1988, only one tropical storm or hurricane has been larger–Tropical Storm Olga of 2001, which had a 690 mile radius of tropical storm-force winds when it was near Bermuda (note: I earlier reported this was a subtropical storm, as per the original NHC advisory, but it was later re-analyzed as a tropical storm.)

Sandy has put a colossal volume of ocean water in motion with its widespread and powerful winds, and the hurricane’s massive storm surge is already impacting the coast. A 2′ storm surge has been recorded at numerous locations this morning from Virginia to Connecticut, including a 3′ surge at Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and Sewells Point at 9 am EDT. Huge, 10 – 15 foot-high battering waves on top of the storm surge have washed over Highway 12 connecting North Carolina’s Outer Banks to the mainland at South Nags Head this morning. The highway is now impassable, and has been closed. The coast guard station on Cape Hatteras, NC, recorded sustained winds of 50 mph, gusting to 61 mph, at 5:53 am EDT this morning. In Delaware, the coastal highway Route 1 between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach has been closed due to high water. Even though Sandy is a minimal Category 1 hurricane, its storm surge is extremely dangerous, and if you are in a low-lying area that is asked to evacuate, I strongly recommend that you leave.

Interesting stuff… Also:

WAMU 88.5 FM is reporting that the National Hurricane Center believes Sandy could be the worst storm to ever hit the east coast. You can read the full article here.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the National Weather Service believes every creek, stream, and river in Baltimore City and Baltimore County will be “out of its banks.” You can read the full article here.

Important Safety Reminders from Baltimore County Emergency Management Director Mark Hubbard

The following reminders, offered by Hubbard, were published in the Towson Patch:

  • Citizens who live in flood-prone areas along the coast or along inland creeks and streams should consider relocating. Coastal flooding is predicted, but the severity is not known and emergency responders may not be able to rescue those living in these areas.
  • Roads will flood. Officials are asking drivers to stay off the roads once the storm starts, but if you must drive, avoid driving through standing water.
  • When traffic signals go out, the intersection should be treated as a four-way stop.
  • Plans should be made immediately for family members who use power-dependent life-sustaining equipment.
  • Generators should be placed outside, at least 15 feet from the house.
  • Trees that fall on private property are the owner’s responsibility. Trees that fall on public property and roads are the county’s responsibility.
  • Baltimore does not provide dry ice or sand bags. See the post from Oct. 26 about information about where to obtain dry ice.

Baltimore County officials will provide updates from Twitter at @BACOemergency.

You can read my piece, “Preparations Without The Panic,” Published in the Towson Patch here.

Warnings In Effect

The following watches and warnings are currently in effect (National Weather Service):

  • Coastal Flood Warning (Inland Worchester, Maryland Beaches): Exp. 10/30 @12 a.m.
  • Flood Watch (Statewide): Exp. 10/30 @8p.m.
  • Coastal Flood Advisory and Watch (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Harford, Kent, Prince Georges, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Southern Baltimore, St. Marys, Talbot, Wicomico): Exp. 10/30 @12a.m.
  • High Wind Warning (Statewide): Exp. 10/30 @8p.m.
  • Winter Storm Watch (Garrett): Exp. 10/31 @8a.m.

You can get the latest warnings and alerts from the National Weather Service here.

Update on School Closings

As of 2:00 p.m., the following schools and universities have announced closings:

You can get school closing updates from WBALTV.com, if you aren’t connected to any text-alert system for your your school or university. I will post an updated list in my next report tomorrow morning.

Evacuations

The following locations have received evacuation notices:

Ocean City, MD is evacuating from 17th Street to the Inlet. All residents and business owners should be evacuated by 8 p.m. You can read the full evacuation notice here.

Delaware beaches are being evacuated, but some of the evacuation routes are already closed because of breaches in the sand dunes. You can read the full update here.

Harford County is advising Havre de Grace residents to evacuate by 7 p.m. You can read the full update here.

Power Outages

The threat of power outages will continue to increase as the storm moves into our area, primarily for three reasons:

  1. the winds will be unrelenting for at least 24 hours;
  2. the ground is already saturated; and
  3. trees will carry more weight with leaves still attached; in addition, the leaves act as wind-catchers and will cause more trees to become uprooted.

This is just one of the many reasons why the MVA is urging drivers to stay off Maryland roads during this storm. There is great unpredictability in where or when trees might come down, and whether they will be bringing power lines down with them. Downed wires do NOT need to be sparking to be live and deadly. Take no chances if you see downed wires in the road or in your yard.

As of 2:00 p.m., BGE faced over 1,700 power outages earlier today (many of them in Carroll County); now, they are reporting only 34 outages, with 1,679 restored since 10 a.m.:

  • Anne Arundel: 1
  • Baltimore: 11
  • Baltimore City: 15
  • Calvert: 0
  • Carroll: 1
  • Harford: 5
  • Howard: 0
  • Montgomery: 0
  • Prince George’s: 1

You can check for power outage updates here; BGE does a great job of keeping these numbers updated every 15 minutes or so.

Important Numbers, Websites, And Social Media Sites To Know:

WBAL 1090 AM and wbal.com

National Hurricane Center
BGE: Report Power Outages by calling 877-778-2222
Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)METEOROLOGISTS/WEATHER FORECASTERS:
Justin Berk (@JustinWeather)
Foot’s Forecast

SCHOOL CLOSINGS:
WBALTV
WBFF FOX45 (still showing that Baltimore County Schools are closed, but this is not correct)
ABC2NEWS
WJZ CBS BALTIMORE

EMERGENCY CONTACTS
— State road conditions: 511
— Bay Bridge: 877-BAYSPAN
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
— Emergency Operations Center to fully activate at noon Sunday
— Shelter: Annapolis High School (2700 Riva Road, Annapolis), opens 3 p.m. Sunday
ANNAPOLIS
— Annapolis Call Center: 410-260-2211 non-emergencies (to fully activate at noon Sunday)
— All four city garages will open at 3 p.m. free of charge to city residents during the storm: Hillman, Gotts, Knighton and Park Place.
BALTIMORE CITY: DIAL 311
— Emergency Operations Center to open at 7 a.m. Sunday

HARFORD COUNTY
— Harford County “Hot-Line:” 410-838-5800 (Opens Sunday at 7 a.m.) non-emergencies
— Emergency Shelter: Patterson Mill High School (85 Patterson Mill Road, Bel Air) to open at 7 p.m. Sunday as a last resort for residents who have nowhere else to go

EASTERN SHORE
— Queen Anne’s County — Residents encouraged to voluntarily evacuate.
— Ocean City — Emergency Management: 410-723-6646

 

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