A tropical storm watch has been notched up to a warning for Southern Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore, including Ocean City, as Hurricane Dorian moves along the coast of the United States.
The National Weather Service said tropical storm-force winds of up to 73 mph are possible in St. Mary’s, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties today. Coastal flooding and significant erosion are also possible.
Ocean City officials said they are preparing for sustained winds of up to 35 mph and prolonged rainfall. Crews were closing the resort town’s seawall and clearing beaches. They urged residents to secure boats and other vessels as well as outdoor furniture and grills.
The Maryland State Highway Administration urged residents not to drive through flooded roads and said it was working to clear storm drains of debris.
[ More: Hurricane Dorian rakes coast of Carolinas ]
Virginia portions of the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva peninsula are also under a tropical storm warning.
Gov. Larry Hogan warned Maryland residents to take the hurricane seriously and utilize resources like the Maryland Emergency Management Agency or State Emergency Operations Center.
"I urge Marylanders to stay tuned to your local news stations for updates, heed warnings from state and local authorities, and most importantly, use common sense,” Hogan said in a press release Thursday.
The storm is forecast to remain far enough south for little if any impact to be felt in Central Maryland, but for some clouds and possible showers from Dorian’s outer bands. The chance of rain in Baltimore is 28% and winds could reach 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Dorian was a Category 3 storm moving up the coast of the Carolinas as of midday Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was bringing flooding, heavy rain and gusty winds to coastal communities despite remaining slightly off shore. It has since been downgraded to a Category 1 storm.
Hogan authorized the use of the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team to North Carolina on Thursday to help with any potential rescues.
When Dorian slammed into the Bahamas, it left at least 20 people dead.
It is forecast to track along the Carolinas Friday morning and expected to be offshore by the evening, remaining hurricane strength into the weekend as it moves up toward Canada.