Maryland governor declares state of emergency for flooding

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency Friday for counties affected by severe weather, as the National Weather Service warned that the mid-Atlantic region could see one of the biggest tidal floods in a decade or two as heavy rain and winds pummeled the region.

The weather service said some areas could get the worst tidal flooding that they’ve seen since Hurricane Isabel in 2003 on Friday and Saturday as strong and persistent winds push water into the Chesapeake Bay. Several public school systems in Maryland were closed Friday.

Hogan issued the state of emergency for areas of Maryland along the shores of the bay, the Potomac River and the Atlantic Coast currently under a coastal flood warning.

“Even if you are accustomed to nuisance flooding, this is much more serious and has the potential to be much more damaging over the course of the next 24 hours,” Hogan said early Friday evening. “We are taking this action to bring all necessary state resources to bear, and assist local jurisdictions in their response efforts.”

The state of emergency declaration includes Baltimore City and the following counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Prince George’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester.

The governor urged Maryland residents and visitors to monitor weather forecasts and remain on alert as heavy rains, moderate to major flooding, and hazardous winds affect portions of the state Friday through Sunday.

On Friday morning, water flooded streets near City Dock in downtown Annapolis.

“The rain is coming in a lot right now,” said Leslie Butler, who had come to Annapolis for the day with her children and paused near City Dock during their visit. “It’s crazy high flood waters. I’ve never seen this before.”

The City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management warned people to prepare for the possibility of extended road closures through the weekend. In Baltimore, officials offered residents sandbags and warned them move vehicles from low-lying areas.

The flooding could affect all tidal shores in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia, the weather service said. Water levels were already elevated Thursday evening, but high tides are expected to be the highest from Friday until high tide Saturday morning.

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