Is the Washington region prepared for storms like Hurricane Florence?

Several of our Prince George’s County Cities and Communities are subject to flooding due to destructive Hurricane weather. Residents should learn more about preparedness during hazardous conditions.

Hurricane Florence is finally spinning away from the Carolinas, leaving a destructive wake that includes at least 32 people dead. The threat had governments in the Washington region engaging their emergency management plans and assessing how they would act in the case of a direct hit.

Buildings damaged in the 2016 Ellicott City flood by Preservation Maryland licensed under Creative Commons.

An old hurricane plan for the DC Metro area dated to 1963 lists a lot of the same risks the city faces today, like tidal flooding related to the storm surge, though climate change has made them more acute. At the time, the Army Corps of Engineers advocated for flood control plans, and while local governments have been making efforts to prepare for dangerous weather in the decades since, gaps still remain.

Screenshot of the Maryland Evacuation Lookup tool.

Bladensburg, for example, is largely within the map’s evacuation zone B and is adjacent to other small communities, meaning there is a heightened risk of inundation. That area is over 75% Black, Asian, and Latino like the rest of Prince George’s.

Even though most Bladensburg residents are listed by the Census Bureau as Latino, materials on the county’s emergency preparedness website are not readily available in Spanish and visitors must use a Google Translate feature embedded into the website.

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