Thus far, she wrote in an email, school system staff has been in contact with the Emergency Operations Center to monitor the storm's path, intensity and timing.

"Communication will continue with all emergency management partners throughout the weekend," Kranefeld wrote. "All systems are in place to communicate any information to parents should our normal operating schedule change or to deliver any necessary emergency school system messages."

Cecil County Public Schools are preparing as well, according to Public Information Officer Kelly Keeton. Maintenance staff, she said, is taking extra precautions to make sure roof and parking drains are kept clean, in addition to other preparations.

"Just all of those things that can be done ahead of time," she said.


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Even though Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air and Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace aren't expecting any serious damage or issues from the threatening hurricane, Martha Mallonee, director of communications for both hospitals, says they are anticipating some flooding, but mostly in Havre de Grace.

"As a matter of fact, we have a meeting later [Wednesday]," Mallonee said of the hospitals' preparations. She added that the hospitals are working with Harford County emergency services to assess damage possibilities at both locations, though they are "mostly focused on Harford Memorial."

The staff is being prepared for any possible hurricane-related issues, making sure emergency vehicles will have clear access to the hospitals throughout the week, especially on Sunday when the heaviest rain is expected to fall.

"The biggest concern is flooded streets because that has happened before," Mallonee said.

"There's only so much we can do [as far as] preparations," Aaron Ashford, public works superintendent for Perryville. "We're just tracking the storm to see what we need to do."

One thing the department of public works is doing to prepare for Irene is getting "supplies on hand in case of high water issues," including sand bags and boards for windows. An emergency response plan is also in place, which the town will follow based on the different degrees of damage and possible danger.

No serious problems are expected for Perryville, except for high water and flooding issues.

"We haven't had anything we couldn't handle," Ashford said.

If past hurricanes, such as 2003's Isabel and Floyd in 1999, are any indication of what to expect, there could be some fallen trees, as well.

At the moment, Ashford just anticipates "basic waterfront issues," including high wind and high water levels. Shore erosion will also be monitored, he said.

Local businesses will be opened or closed on the weekend based on the severity of the weather and the danger it poses to people.

Mayor Wayne Dougherty of Havre de Grace and Mayor Mike Bennett of Aberdeen said Wednesday their cities are gearing up to stay ahead of the weather.

"I had all my critical people in this morning," Dougherty said. "We are still hoping it's going to curve to the east, but if it doesn't, we are going to be well prepared."

Larry Parks, Havre de Grace's public works director, said Thursday he was not too concerned about the storm's impact on either the town or its waterfront structures, such as the Promenade.

"Water coming off the shore doesn't affect the Promenade much. If the storm is on the east side of the bay, that pushes water out … As long as it's on this track, the water's probably not going to come up and push on it," he said of the Promenade. "If there's anything loose on there, we will take it off."

In general, the city is "battening things down" on the marina, making sure all equipment is ready to go and keeping its fuel tanks full, Parks said.