Ocean City: Evacuate by Midnight

Friday, Aug 26, 2011  |  Updated 2:18 AM EDT
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Emergency management officials in Ocean City are calling for a mandatory evacuation starting at midnight Friday.

Veronica Johnson

Emergency management officials in Ocean City are calling for a mandatory evacuation starting at midnight Friday.

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Officials want everyone except emergency personnel to get out of Ocean City, Md., by midnight.

The city's hurricane action plan goes into phase three at midnight -- which means visitors and residents should be gone by then. Hurricane Irene could hit the resort by Saturday night.

There were probably about 125,000 to 150,000 people in the city, Meehan said Thursday. Officials had already been urging visitors to head home, but now they are telling the 7,000 or so residents there to seek shelter elsewhere.

Mayor Rick Meehan declared a state of emergency. He is banning the sale of alcohol and requests that all businesses close by midnight.

No vehicles except emergency vehicles and those approved by the mayor, city manager or emergency services director will be permitted entry to the island.

International student work force evacuation is expected to be completed by Friday morning. The Municipal Transportation System is providing transportation for special needs persons.

Ocean City advisory radio station 1670 AM will remain operational for further advisories.

Previously in phase one, anyone who wanted to travel to Ocean City was asked to postpone their visits until the situation improves. Residents were advised to secure their homes and prepare for possible evacuation. And people should secure or move all watercraft from the water now in advance of the storm.

According to Ocean City officials, easterly gale force winds should start affecting the area by 6 p.m. Saturday with storm force winds arriving around 4 a.m. and northeasterly hurricane force winds arriving near 6 a.m.

The highest wind speeds from Hurricane Irene should occur near 9 a.m. when top sustained winds, from the north, could reach 90 mph with gusts near 112 mph, officials said. Winds should decrease below hurricane force shortly thereafter. Sustained winds will fall below gale force after 3 p.m. and generally be from the north during this period of decreasing winds. Expect gusts above gale force level for several more hours thereafter.

The total rainfall for the Ocean City area over the next three days is forecast to be 9.5 inches, officials said. This can vary significantly as tropical storm and hurricane rainfall is very difficult to predict.

Meehan said the last time that Ocean City ordered an evacuation was in 1985 for Hurricane Gloria.


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