Officials in Ocean City, Md. have ordered residents to evacuate after the swiftly approaching Hurricane Irene led Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to declare a state of emergency.
Hurricane Irene pounded the Bahamas on Thursday as it inched north toward Washington, packing winds and rains of such ferocity that the governors of Maryland and Virginia declared states of emergency and officials in Ocean City ordered residents to evacuate.
O’Malley said 100 state troopers are being deployed to assist with the Ocean City evacuation.
As the storm approached, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) declared a state of emergency, telling residents of low-lying areas in the eastern part of the state to be prepared to evacuate. State officials said eastern Virginia could be hit with flooding from both rain and storm surges and that winds could reach hurricane strength in Hampton Roads.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles, it said.
Gov. Martin O’Malley Thursday urged Maryland residents to prepare for flooding, gale winds, electrical outages and torrential rain as Hurricane Irene headed for the state. He declared a state of emergency and ordered a rare evacuation of Ocean City.
The governor has declared a statewide emergency and ordered a mandatory evacuation of Ocean City. Officials anticipate the storm will be a Category 2 when it arrives off the coast of Ocean City, with the eye possibly over Ocean City by 2 a.m. Sunday, said O’Malley, who was joined by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and MEMA officials.
Gale winds from the storm, which will stretch from Frederick to Ocean City, will be felt by 5 p.m. Saturday, O’Malley said.
The goal is have Ocean City evacuated by 5 p.m. on Friday, O’Malley said. The governor said he can’t remember a time Ocean City was issued a mandatory evacuation.