At a late afternoon news conference Thursday, Gov. Martin O’Malley urged Marylanders in low-lying coastal flood zones to leave their homes this weekend and “stay with someone who loves them” as a “monster hurricane” approaches.
“This is a large, this is a deadly, this a slow-moving hurricane that is bearing down on the state of Maryland,” O’Malley (D) said after a briefing at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in Reistertown.
The governor said he’s been told to expect the epicenter of the storm to arrive just off the coast of Ocean City around 2 a.m. Sunday.
O’Malley has declared a state of emergency across Maryland.
He said the state is also supporting the mandatory evacuation order of the barrier island Ocean City — the first of its kind he can remember. “That should underscore the seriousness of this,” he said. “This is not a time to get out the camera and sit on the beach and take pictures of the waves.”
O’Malley said 100 state troopers are being deployed to assist with the evacuation of Ocean City. “People need to act in an orderly fashion now,” he said, adding that those who do not leave could face penalties.
“We’re encouraging people when they leave Ocean City to go back to Pittsburgh or other cities where they came from,” O’Malley said.
The governor said he anticipates that everything south of 17th Street in Ocean City will be under water at some point because of the storm surge.