- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A year has now passed since Hurricane Irene swept through Southern Maryland, leaving destruction in its wake. For several days, many people were without power as crews worked to repair downed power lines and remove downed trees. Many residents spent several days cleaning up debris and dealing with flooding and other structural damages to their homes. Many residents had to pay for damage out of their own pockets, as Calvert and Charles counties were under a hurricane watch by the National Weather Service, not a hurricane warning as St. Mary’s County was. While Calvert was not hit nearly as hard as St. Mary’s, damage was done.
In June, a derecho — a straight line of powerful winds connected to a storm surge — struck the area, downing power lines and trees. That quick storm gave little warning for residents — and responding power company crews — to prepare for the impact.
We are still early in hurricane season, which began June 1 and will last until Nov. 30. As Tropical Storm Isaac sets its sights on Louisiana and other Gulf states this week, we are reminded of the brutal force of Hurricane Katrina and the fallout from not only being prepared for a devastating storm, but poor response at the federal level afterward. While we can only hope lessons have been learned, being prepared for the worst can only up our chances of dealing with a storm afterward. SMECO usually does an excellent job in restoring power to residents as quickly as possible, often calling in crews from other states to assist in restoration efforts prior to a storm hitting the area. Baltimore Gas & Electric has been criticized for its service to Calvert customers in the past, and while some effort has been made to improve power restoration efforts by the utility, there still is plenty more work to be done.
While we all are more concerned about when power will be restored after a powerful storm, being prepared for one will make it easier to weather the storm until all returns to normal. The National Weather Service offers many tips for preparations at its website, www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/. Take a moment to look through the lists and have a plan in place prior to a major weather event. While being without power is a major annoyance, being ready for it makes it easier to deal with in the meantime.