Maryland residents may face days of power outages and flooding from ‘killer storm’ Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Martin O’Malley said at a press conference Sunday afternoon.
“The utility companies have been drawing in outside help to the greatest extent possible in order to prepare for what we anticipate will be several days of power outages for a large number of citizens in the state of Maryland,” O’Malley said.
Minor flooding in the bay and major flooding in creeks, especially on the Eastern shore, is expected. Ocean City may see waves the size of which it hasn’t had since Hurricane Gloria in 1985, the governor said.
The state is fully prepared for Hurricane Sandy.
“We are at full activation now,” O’Malley announced at a press conference at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s emergency operations center (EOC) in Reisterstown. “We are at our highest state of readiness, our highest state of preparedness.”
In addition to keeping in touch with utility companies, the state has more than 450 National Guard members mobilized that are ready to assist with humvees, utility vehicles and other assets like generators, O’Malley said. The storm will last several days, he said, and utility workers will have to wait until the storm has passed in order for them to safely restore power.
The state has 23 of its 24 EOCs operational, and shelters have opened in Worcester County. Ocean City and low-lying coastal areas on the Eastern shore are being evacuated.
“This storm is a killer storm,” O'Malley said. “Hurricane Sandy has already killed a great number of people in the Caribbean and will likely take more lives as she makes landfall.”
The duration of the storm and how severe it will be when it touches down on East Coast is still unknown.
“The winds will be varied and severe,” O’Malley said. “It will cover a very wide swath and breadth and because of that severity and because of that duration, we’re not sure how long the storm will park over the Mid-Atlantic.”
Non-essential state employees have been placed on liberal leave, O’Malley said.
All Maryland State Park campgrounds and day-use areas will be closed by Sunday evening, and remain closed until the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 31, according to a Maryland Department of Natural Resources press release. Closures will be modified on a case-by-case basis.
Early voting Monday is cancelled and will likely be rescheduled for Friday, said O'Malley
Early voting will take place Sunday, and Marylanders in line by 6 p.m. will get to vote, O’Malley said.