Maryland Preparing For Tropical Storm Ida

It’s expected to drop two to seven-inches of rain.


Baltimore, Md (KM)   Ida came ashore in Louisiana on Sunday as a Category Four Hurricane, but it’s since been downgraded to a tropical storm. It’s heading for the Mid-Atlantic Region, and Maryland is getting ready. Ed McDonough, spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, says MEMA has been talking with emergency officials around the state as well as  the National Weather Service.

“It looks like we could get anywhere from two to six or seven inches depending on where in the state you are, and depending on the exact track of the storm,”: he says.

Tropical Storm Ida is expected to reach Maryland by Wednesday. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch to begin on Wednesday at 11:00 AM, and continue until Thursday at 8:00 AM for much of the state..

“The way it looks now the heaviest rain is going to be in the western and northern and north central parts of Maryland,” McDonough says.. “That will be left side of the center of the storm as it’s projected to go now.” He says the right side of the storm, which is mostly east and south, has the greatest chance for tornadoes.

He says emergency crews around the state are getting ready “Obviously, the swift water rescue teams in the state are on alert, obviously, ready to serve their jurisdictions,” says McDonough. “But if need be and if circumstances allow, some    may be moved to other areas of the state if needed.”

He also says the State Highway Administration and local road crews are checking culverts and bridges, and remove any obstructions which could cause flooding.

Storm surges are a danger in  coastal areas, but the biggest danger in Maryland is inland flooding, according to McDonough. He says it’s important for motorists not to attempt to drive through rushing water, noting that it only takes a few inches of water to move a car.

But McDonough also says you should never try to drive through standing water. “If there’s standing water on the roadway–maybe it’s just a couple of inches of rainwater–but maybe there’s a washed out bridge that you can’t see, or  a washed–out culvert which then makes things considerably more dangerous,” he says.

Even after the storm has passed, there is still some danger of flooding, especially along major rivers like the Potomac. McDonough says flash flooding is a danger during the height of a storm. “But some of the larger systems like the Potomac and the Susquehanna {Rivers}, they might see their cresting a couple days later as the watershed drains into those major rivers, like the Susquehanna and the Potomac.” he says.

It’s best to take an alternate route, says McDonough, if the road you normally travel is underwater. Highway safety experts says it’s best to “turn around, don’t drown.”


By Kevin McManus