In Anne Arundel County, the eastern half of the county has hot, humid summers and cool, moist winters, and the western half of the county gets slightly colder winter temperatures and more snow. Annual rainfall averages 40 inches throughout the county. The average summer temperature is 87 degrees, with winter averaging 31 degrees. On average, 20 inches of snow fall each year.
Summers in Howard County are also hot and humid. Winters are cool and rainy, with lower temperatures away from the water. Snowfall ranges from 10 inches in the east to 30 inches in the west, with the area getting an average of 18 inches of snow annually. Annual rainfall averages 45 inches countywide, and residents can expect average temperatures of 24 degrees during winter’s three coldest months coupled with an average high of 85 in June, July and August.
Every second counts in a disaster so planning and preparation can be lifesavers. The following are considered significant hazards in Maryland.
The region is subject to flooding from several sources. Flash floods tend to come after brief periods of heavy rain and most often affect small streams and creeks. General flooding comes from more prolonged steady rain and tends to affect larger streams and rivers. Major rivers can reach flood stage because of events in distant areas of their watershed. Finally, hurricanes and tropical storms can cause surges that create tidal flooding along bays and their tributaries.
Do not drive through flooded roadways. The road may not be there. Follow instructions given by emergency officials. If told to evacuate, do so.
Maryland was fortunate to have avoided most of Hurricane Sandy’s destructive power in 2012, but a fair share of hurricanes thunder through Anne Arundel and Howard counties. The Atlantic hurricane seasons lasts from June to November, with the season peaking between mid-August and late October. Hurricanes can cause damage to coastlines as well as several hundred miles inland. These severe tropical storms can produce winds in excess of 155 miles per hour, tornadoes, microbursts, heavy rain and thunderstorms.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency urges residents to prepare a disaster supply kit for family and pets, and secure important documents in waterproof containers. It is important to know your evacuation zone and where to go in case an evacuation is ordered. Visit http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/DisasterSupplyKit.aspx for a suggested list of items that should be in your supply kit. Visit http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/who.aspx for tips for before and during an emergency for homeowners, boaters, families with children, pets and people with special needs.
Some exposure to sunlight is good, even healthy, but too much can be dangerous. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet (UV) radiation, listed as a known carcinogen by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, can cause blistering sunburns and such long-term problems as skin cancer, cataracts and immune suppression. Overexposure also causes wrinkling and aging of the skin.
Cloud cover reduces UV levels but does not block them. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, you can still burn on a cold and cloudy day, so be prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, long-sleeved garments, wide-brimmed hats and a parasol.
While more likely at certain times of year, thunderstorms can happen anytime. A severe thunderstorm can knock out power; bring high winds, lightning, flash floods and hail; and spin into a twister in seconds. Pay attention to storm warnings. Remember the rule: “When thunder roars, head indoors.” The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 Rule: People should seek shelter if the “Flash-to-Bang” delay — length of time in seconds from the sight of the lightning flash to the arrival of its subsequent thunder — is 30 seconds or less, and remain under cover for
30 minutes after the final thunderclap.
For more safety information, visit the National Weather Service’s website at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
Tornadoes can develop quickly, with minimal warning, so it is important to have a plan in place before they occur. If a tornado watch is issued, weather conditions, such as a severe thunderstorm, favor the formation of tornadoes. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately during a tornado warning.
More than 356 twisters ripped through Maryland between 1950 and 2015, uprooting trees, stripping shingles from rooftops and sometimes causing widespread devastation. Seven people lost their lives. Then there was the hail, sometimes as big as half dollars.
For more information on tornado preparedness, go to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s website, http://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/resources-Tornadoes.aspx.