The eye of Hurricane Sandy is making its way through the upper Chesapeake Bay and 280,000 Maryland residents are without power, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Monday night.
The storm made landfall near Cape May, New Jersey, earlier Monday night, according to meteorologist Ken Wedelski of the National Weather Service. It is moving on a north/northwest course but is slowing down, moving at about 23 mph.
About half of the citizens in Cecil and Harford counties are without power. Rain and strong winds will continue in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Blizzard warnings are in effect for Western Maryland and tidal flooding is expected, Wedelski said at MEMA headquarters in Reisterstown during the governor’s 9:30 p.m. press conference.
“The next 12 hours will likely be the most intense,” O’Malley said.
At least one storm-related death occurred Monday morning in Montgomery County. As of the press conference, officials were clearing an accident involving four tractor-trailers on I-68 Westbound, which was closed at exit 29, O’Malley said.
Northern Maryland will experience the worst of the storm between Monday night and dawn, Wedelski said. The Baltimore area and east will see eight to 12 inches of rain with winds of 30 to 45 mph and wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph. The Washington, D.C., area will see five to 10 inches of rain, Wedelski said.
High-elevation areas in Western Maryland could see 18 to 24 inches of snow, and there is a coastal flood warning for the Chesapeake Bay, Wedelski said.
In Crisfield, there was a tide surge three to five feet higher than anticipated.
Twenty-four critical care facilities are operating on generators. That includes five nursing homes, 17 assisted living facilities and two hospitals, O’Malley said.
Forty-one shelters are open in state jurisdictions and four state shelters are open. Approximately 1,200 Maryland residents, most from the Eastern Shore, are staying in the shelters, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said.
With schools and state government closed tomorrow, the state will have an opportunity to evaluate the state of critical infrastructure and government facilities, Brown said.