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Hogan declares state of emergency ahead of possible hurricane landfall

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The National Weather Service says there are three hurricanes brewing in the Atlantic Ocean: Florence, Isaac and Helene. At a news conference Monday, the Governor Larry Hogan urged all Marylanders to take precautionary measures to prepare for the storm.

According to the NWS, Hurricane Florence has rapidly intensified into a Category 4 major hurricane south-southeast of Bermuda and is likely to lash the U.S. East Coast later this week with life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and massive inland rainfall flooding in one of the strongest strikes on record for this part of the East Coast.

If you're in the East Coast threat zone, now is the time to develop or firm up your hurricane preparedness plan and be ready to implement it if necessary. Residents in coastal areas should follow evacuation orders from local officials because of the potential for life-threatening storm-surge flooding. It's because of the threat to Maryland, Governor took the preemptive measure of declaring state of emergency. Among the things Governor Hogan made sure to address--- officials have shelters on standby in anticipation and people are urged to buy batteries and water so that they are prepared.

“At this time, there is still some uncertainty about the track of this storm and its potential impact, but we are preparing for any possible outcome, including the potential for historic and catastrophic rainfall, life-threatening flooding, and high winds,” said Governor Hogan. “Our state is taking every precaution, and I urge Marylanders to do the same. Stay tuned to your local news stations for the latest updates, listen to state and local authorities, and most importantly, use common sense.”

The executive order will allow the state to more efficiently coordinate support and provide assistance to local jurisdictions within Maryland and neighboring states.

Weather forecasters have indicated that there is the potential for life-threatening conditions, including catastrophic flooding as well as high winds and dangerous conditions in our waterways. Current forecasts indicate that torrential rains, tropical storm force winds, and tidal flooding/storm surge could impact the state beginning as early as Thursday.

The state’s Emergency Operations Center Response Level has been elevated and center is fully staffed with emergency management personnel and state agency coordinating function representatives.

The state of emergency allows the governor to access critical resources in order to increase the state’s response, like the Maryland National Guard. It also allows Maryland to receive assistance from other states as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. This compact serves as the cornerstone of the nation’s mutual aid system and offers assistance and aid during states of emergency through member states.

“A state of emergency is a good indicator that residents should remain alert and follow officials’ orders, news stations, and weather forecasts in order to be informed of the situation,” said MEMA’s Executive Director, Russell Strickland. “We encourage all residents and visitors to our State to visit www.KnowYourZoneMD.com to see if they are inside, or, if they are traveling to, a hurricane evacuation zone,” he added.

Governor Hogan has directed state agencies to stand ready to respond to the effects of this storm, including the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). For more information, residents can also go to MEMA’s website at mema.maryland.gov, follow MEMA’s Twitter feed at @MDMEMA, or follow MEMA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MDMEMA.