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Start of spring brings threat of extreme weather

Prince Frederick, MD – With spring in full swing, the region can experience extreme weather that can include high winds, heavy rains, lightning, hail and the formation of tornadoes. The Calvert County Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management encourages all residents to be prepared.

This week is also Maryland Severe Storms Awareness Week and Calvert County is teaming with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the National Weather Service to promote citizen awareness and preparedness. Residents can “be weather prepared” by ensuring they understand weather conditions, have a plan and practice safety tips.

Often associated with severe thunderstorms, tornadoes can produce wind speeds greater than 250 miles per hour, can be one mile wide and can stay on the ground for up to 50 miles. They are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. but can occur at any time of the day. Residents are urged to follow these tips on preparing for severe weather and taking action if a tornado develops.

Before the Storm

  • Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school, when outdoors and especially when boating.
  • Purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA) weather radio with battery backup to receive weather warnings.
  • Listen to radio and television for information.
  • If taking a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and plan accordingly if threatening weather is possible.
  • Be familiar with the various types of watches and warnings issued for severe weather.
    • Severe thunderstorm watch: Severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.
    • Severe thunderstorm warning: Thunderstorms are occurring.
    • Tornado watch: Conditions are favorable for a tornado to form.
    • Tornado warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.


If a Tornado Warning is Issued

  • Take shelter immediately. If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Stay away from windows.
  • Abandon mobile homes; they offer little protection, even if tied down.
  • Get out of automobiles. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately and lay in a ditch or depression or seek sturdy shelter.
  • If you are caught outside with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge.
  • After the tornado passes, stay away from storm-damaged areas.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.

This time of year is a good time to sign up for Calvert ALERT, a notification system that can send messages by text, email, fax, land line and pager. Visit the county website at www.co.cal.md.us and follow the Emergency Alerts link to register for the notification service. Those without Internet access can call the Calvert County Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management at 410-535-1600, ext. 2638, to sign up.

Residents are also encouraged to to download the “Prepare Me Calvert” app for iOS (Apple) and Android devices for free through the Apple App Store or the Google Play market.  It puts critical, real-time information at users’ fingertips in the event of a regional emergency.

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