OCEAN CITY — Hurricane season is quickly approaching, prompting resort officials to urge residents and visitors of the importance of preparedness.
During last Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting, Mayor Rick Meehan read into the record a proclamation designating this week as 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 extremely important during hurricane season to be prepared,” he said. “A few of us just got back from the hurricane conference and it’s good to learn some new things and the find out what we’re doing right. During the conference, they present a checklist for communities to make sure they’re prepared and I’m always happy when we can check most of the items off our list.”
Wind velocity has historically been the barometer by which hurricane strength is measured, but Meehan said in recent years storm surge is the indicator being scrutinized more closely.
“The number one thing they talk about now is storm surge,” Meehan 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.”
Meehan said the town offers apps providing information on the various flood zones and urged residents to utilize them and the other available resources in the event of a storm.
“The one thing we all carry around all the time are our cell phones,” he said. “Get the apps and get the alerts because it’s extremely important.”
Meehan pointed to the severe hurricane that destroyed much of Mexico Beach, Fla. last year as an example of the unpredictability of hurricanes.
“Mexico Beach was totally devastated,” he said. “It’s basically gone. There are a lot of things we can learn by talking to others. We do have ourselves in a good position when a storm does approach Ocean City.”
Emergency Service Director Joe Theobald echoed those sentiments.
“It’s important every year to remind ourselves about being prepared,” he said. “We are a coastal community. I was just reading about the 1962 storm and tides were nine feet above average. We haven’t seen anything like that since.”