Officials gear up for Floyd; Schools closed, two emergency shelters readied; Academy moves ships; Winds up to 60 mph, 3 to 6 inches of rain predicted


With Hurricane Floyd likely to bring high winds and heavy rain to Anne Arundel County, officials shut schools, canceled community meetings, told county workers to stay home and readied emergency shelters at opposite ends of the county.

Private businesses and residents also went into hurricane preparation mode yesterday.

The National Weather Service is predicting winds of 40 to 60 mph, 3 to 6 inches of rain, flooding in low-lying areas of the eastern part of the county and possible flash floods elsewhere.

Starting at 8 a.m. today, Southern High School, on Route 2 in Lothian, and Northeast High School, on Duvall road in Pasadena, will be open to refugees from any flooding or high winds.

Schools will be closed today, and the second day of the Anne Arundel County Fair has been called off.

Nonessential county workers have been instructed to use leave time to stay home.

The Naval Academy moved its ships to safer waters yesterday, marina managers planned overnight shifts and the city of Annapolis handed out sandbags to business owners and residents around historic City Dock.

"The City Dock floods at 3 feet above normal," said city spokesman Thomas W. Roskelly. "If you have a 6-foot tidal surge, I don't think people have seen that in Annapolis in decades. We obviously hope for the best but anticipate the worst."

The county has more than 432 miles of shoreline, most of it dotted with homes, but residents have for the most part been spared the devastation of hurricanes. They have some idea what to expect, though.

"The tide will come up, flood the piers in the creek and put them under water," said Sharon Jernigan, whose family has lived on Stony Creek for 16 years.

The Jernigans and boat owners countywide, including the Naval Academy, were taking steps to protect their boats yesterday.

Beginning about 10 a.m., crews from the Naval Academy boarded dozens of the school's sailboats -- from 44-foot sloops to 24-foot "knockabouts" -- untied them from their Chesapeake Bay docks and sailed them five miles north on the Severn River to the protected inlet of Round Bay.

Three hours later, academy crews fired up the engines of 20 "yard patrol craft," called YPs, and also took them north to Round Bay. Academy officials feared that the YPs and sailboats would be tossed against their docks and each other if left to face the winds and waves.

Marinas, including Port Annapolis Marina and Annapolis Landing Marina, put on overnight crews to guard expensive boats.

"We have to be especially careful with some of the boats that we have that are tied alongside the pier," said David Gohsman, general manager of Port Annapolis.

"We have to tie [longer] mooring lines on those boats to keep them from banging and slamming against the pier if the wind does get high.

"It's not like the end of the world. It's something that we just have to maintain a watch on."

Senior citizens in need of transportation or other help getting to the schools should call the county Department of Aging (410-222- 8040) for assistance. The shelters will not allow pets, and officials asked that people using them bring bedding, medicine, personal hygiene items and portable radios and batteries.

Pub Date: 9/16/99

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