OCEAN CITY — With Hurricane Dorian trudging slowly off the southeast coast, the track as of midweek appears to take it easy on Ocean City, but town officials are preparing nonetheless.
After ravaging the Bahamas early this week, Dorian set its sights on the east coast of Florida, along with Georgia, the Carolinas and eastern Virginia through the middle of the week. By Friday, the storm is expected to pass well off the coast of Ocean City although heavy rain, high winds and some coastal flooding is still expected in the resort area.
During Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Rick Meehan provided an update on what preparations the town was making in advance of the storm and encouraged residents and visitors to sign up for the town’s emergency alert messaging system, for this storm, but for future major weather events going forward.
“We want the public to be aware the town of Ocean City and our emergency services continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian,” he said. “It is a very slow-moving hurricane and the track currently has it well off our shore, but we are going to continue to monitor it.”
Meehan said the town’s emergency services staff is closely watching the storm’s track and progress and, again while it appeared as of mid-week as if it will pass well offshore, staffers are following the prescribed pre-storm event protocols.
“At the current time, the staff is in planning mode and they’re implementing any procedures they think need to take place well in advance,” he said. “We’ll continue to monitor the storm and let the public know is exactly what is happening and what to expect.”
Meehan took the opportunity of the impending storm to remind the public to utilize the town’s emergency alert system, which sends out emails and text messages to those who sign up alerting them of changing conditions, potential evacuations, flooding and road closures and other pertinent information related to this storm and future weather events.
“What I really want to suggest tonight is to encourage people to go to the town’s website and sign up for emergency alerts,” he said. “It’s very easy. You just go to the website and click on ‘stay connected to us’ and it will take you to a box that says sign up for emergency alerts.”
Meehan said the system allows the town to reach out to a large number of people in a short amount of time in the event of an emergency.
“This is great for residents, non-resident property owners and visitors who can sign up and receive emails or text messages about alerts and emergency situations that might affect Ocean City,” he said. “Communication is the key and we want to communicate with as many people as possible and as fast as possible.”
Meehan said there is typically a spike in the number of sign-ups as a storm approaches, but encouraged residents and visitors to sign up well in advance.
“Every time we have a major event, the number of people that sign up increases dramatically because it’s something that’s relevant at the time,” he said. “If we can encourage people to sign up along the way, they will be prepared in the future.”
The link to sign up for alerts is https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MDOCEAN/subscriber/new?topic_id=MDOCEAN_32