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Know when to evacuate? Ahead of Hurricane Florence, learn Maryland's flood zones on this new map

A screenshot of the Maryland Hurricane Evacuation Lookup Tool, a map created by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency that allows residents to find out if they live in a flood-prone zone.
A screenshot of the Maryland Hurricane Evacuation Lookup Tool, a map created by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency that allows residents to find out if they live in a flood-prone zone. (Maryland Emergency Management Agency)

As Maryland prepares for a major hurricane to hit the Southeast coast later this week, a new tool from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency will allow local residents to check if they live in a flood-prone area and learn whether they might be evacuated.

MEMA in June created a new evacuation system with a color-coded map to distinguish between flood-prone zones and help residents understand whether they should evacuate in the event of a hurricane.

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On the map, the state’s coastal areas are divided into three zones — A, B and C — based on the likelihood of severe of flooding in those areas. Zone A areas, shown on the map in red, are most likely to be affected by flooding from tropical storms and low-grade hurricanes, while Zone B, shown in yellow, would be impacted by major hurricanes Category 3 and stronger. Those in Zone C, pictured in blue, would be the least affected by flooding but are still at risk for evacuation.

MEMA will work with local emergency mangers to determine which zones are most at risk during a hurricane and notify residents about evacuations. State emergency management officials encouraged residents to “know your zone” in case evacuations become necessary.

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The map could become useful as Hurricane Florence hurls toward the East Coast. The hurricane strengthened to a Category 4 storm Monday and was expected to make landfall by Friday.

About 275,000 residents live in one of the three zones, according to MEMA. The map allows residents to type in their addresses to see which, if any, storm evacuation zone they live in. People who live outside of the designated zones are not expected to be evacuated because of hurricanes.

As Hurricane Florence strengthens, here's a list of things to do before, during and after a hurricane, according to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Sixteen Maryland counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Caroline, Calvert, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Harford, Kent, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Somerset, St. Mary's, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester) and three cities (Baltimore, Annapolis and Ocean City) participate in the program. The zones were established based on a Maryland hurricane evacuation study released earlier this year.

Other states, including Virginia, Florida and New York, have similar zones that help emergency management officials coordinate evacuation efforts.

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More information is available at KnowYourZoneMd.com.

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