Hurricane Preparedness Week Observed In Resort

OCEAN CITY — While the weather is just now taking a turning summer-like for the most part, it is officially hurricane season and resort officials are urging residents to begin preparing.

During last week’s Mayor and Council meeting, Mayor Rick Meehan read into the record a proclamation designating National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Meehan said the town utilizes significant resources to ensure the vulnerable barrier island resort is prepared for the worst when hurricanes and other major storms arrive and urged residents to do the same.

“It’s hard to believe it’s that time again,” he said. “A number of us just got back from the hurricane conference and we learned some new things and we learned what we are doing right.”

Wind velocity has traditionally been the barometer by which hurricane strength is measured, but Meehan said in light of some of major storms that impacted areas in the south and in the Caribbean last fall, storm surge is the indicator being more closely scrutinized.

A few years ago, the Town of Ocean City was divided into various zones were storm surge impacts were deemed greatest. Meehan urged local residents to learn in what zones they live when hurricanes and other coastal storms hit the resort area.

“The number one thing they talk about now is storm surge,” he said. “It used to be wind velocity. We have been cognizant of the importance of storm surge for a number of years now. The important thing is to know your zone, so when an alert goes out, you know what zone applies to you.”

Ocean City is also divided into zones in which flood insurance may or may not be required. Meehan said with the arrival of hurricane season, it was important for residents to make sure they are properly insured.

“Make sure your insurance is accurate and up-to-date,” he said. “Make that call before the storm arrives. Don’t wait until after the fact to find out if you’re covered.”

Meehan said the single most important thing local residents and visitors can do in advance of a storm is having a plan in place, including an evacuation plan, batteries and flashlights, generators and bottled water, for example.

“Have a plan in place,” he said. “We live in a vulnerable area and our residents and visitors need to have a plan in place. I think we excel in all of these areas.”

Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald added, “This is an opportunity to remind the community hurricane season is upon us. As a community, we need to be aware and prepared.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.