Updated: Aug 12, 2020
According to an Anne Arundel County Emergency Management spokesperson weather from Tropical Storm Isias will hit AAC tonight, but the power of the storm will likely be felt by by residents the most between 6 a.m and three p.m. Tuesday, August 4.
That was the expectation from that AAC office as of mid-afternoon Monday, August 3.
“It means that for sure all low lying areas (will see) flooding, especially stream crossings and the low water crossings where the warning signs are,”said James Krempel, the Anne Arundel County Emergency Management Office’s community outreach and volunteer coordinator. “So we always say turn around, don't drown. We have a lot of people who just get in trouble trying to cross those low water crossings. I mean, the police and fire try to block some of them, but they can't go all of them. So common sense goes a long way in this.”
The amount of rain expected to fall is substantial and isolated areas are expected to see up to eight inches,. But Krempel also said the coming storms are are not expected to be close to as severe as some past extreme weather, such as Hurricane Isabel.
But it’s enough for flash flooding, especially on roads, which he called “highly likely.”
“The winds will probably be between 40 and 60 miles an hour, with gusts, (and) with all the wet ground, it could be trees that are already uprooted and loose may come over and then knock out power,” he said. “We call it a cascading effect. And that typically happens with these sorts of things. That's what we're expecting right now. It'll move pretty quickly though. It'll be out of here by late afternoon (Tuesday).”
Krempel encouraged residents to avoid driving if they could and also emphasized not going out on the waterways in a boat while the storm is impacting the area.
He also said, weather permitting, those who are living in low-lying areas, particularly along peninsulas near the Chesapeake Bay may want to consider staying overnight at a higher elevation with someone else. Especially if they have any chronic health conditions or disabilities.
“Make a decision whether you'd like to shelter in place, or evacuate on your own,” he said. “We're not anticipating any evacuations. But if somebody feels uncomfortable, particularly if they will live alone, if they have a chronic illness, or a disability and they want to move in safely with somebody, we always recommend that.”
But for most people he didn’t think that would be an issue and indicated those living in more vulnerable areas may already have an understanding of how to cope with a substantial coastal storm.
“Those communities that are hazarded by this are very well aware it,” he said. “People have lived with it for a very long time.
He suggested, weather permitting, homeowners do a quick outside inspection outside their house to identify any objects that may need to be secured.
“The rains are going to be strong and there's no way to predict where they'll be,” Krempel said. ”We recommend everybody just stay at home and stay safe in their homes. It's the best way to do it.”
“The tropical storm has been on the radar for a while now and the county’s emergency management team has been preparing for this particular event for three days.
“It's typical the public doesn't always hear this, but as soon as there's anything out of out of the Atlantic, the National Weather Service alerts us,” Krempel; said. “In fact, we actually have a meteorologist here on our staff. So we watched things really closely. We're already on what we call a partial activation status for emergency operation center for the COVID-19 crisis. So the team has already assembled. “
He said people also have to be careful about COVID-19. He said the county suggested keeping two masks on hand with any emergency, especially if a resident felt they needed to render immediate aid to a neighbor.
“If you're gonna check on neighbors, make sure you take care of yourself, put a mask on and keep your social distance,” he said. “Help your neighbor Be careful.”
Preeti Emrick, director of emergency management office was confident that Anne Arundel County would cope well with the challenges the tropical storm might bring. She spoke briefly while preparing for the storm on Monday.
“It’s busy, but we’re prepared, just making sure to get the county through this,” she said.