“Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” Baltimore!

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National Weather Service Issues Flash Flood Watch for Much of Maryland

(July 20, 2012) – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for much of the State from noon today until 11 p.m. tonight.  Storms moving in from the west may be capable of producing one to two inches of rain per hour.  The ground is saturated from last night’s heavy rain and there may be localized flooding on roadways.  Wind and rain could also bring trees and power lines down onto the pavement.  The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is alerting motorists to be extra vigilant for potentially hazardous driving conditions this afternoon and night.

“It is vital to reiterate to motorists to not attempt to drive through roadways that are flooded or try to maneuver around downed wires—turn around,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters.  “SHA crews cleared drains today and are prepared to respond to affected regions with high-water signs and chain saws to remove downed branches or trees.”

Motorists are advised to heed the following tips for driving in severe weather:

•       “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”  Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly. They can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall;
•       Avoid low-laying areas with a history of flooding;
•       If visibility decreases, find a safe place to pull over and wait out the storm;
•       Never maneuver around low hanging trees or wires or try to move branches or wires out of the travel lanes;
•       Increase following distances and remember to use low-beam headlights when windshield wipers are in operation; and
•       Take a charged mobile phone to use in case of emergency.

If traveling on foot or by bicycle:
•       Use extreme caution. Drivers may not see you and heavy splashes of water could temporarily disable you or knock you down.

Motorists have a number of options available to check on roadway conditions.   Maryland now features FREE 511 traveler information!  Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit: www.MD511.org  for current travel information. Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website. Remember to use 511 safely – Maryland law restricts hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.

Live traffic cameras can be accessed by logging onto www.roads.maryland.gov and clicking on the CHART icon.  As always remember to buckle up, leave plenty of travel time and remain alert with no distractions.

Edited from Press Release

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