SHA Warns Motorists of Potential Flooding

flooding along roadwayBased on the weather forecast for heavy rains throughout Maryland for Thursday into Friday, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is alerting motorists to anticipate potential flooding on highways and to use extreme caution.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for much of the State. Conditions are possible for flooding with up to four inches of rain; high winds and possible power outages to impact Maryland later today and Friday.

“Given the forecast, it is a very real concern that streams and rivers will crest and affect many roadways,” said Melinda B. Peters, SHA Administrator.  “SHA crews are proactively clearing highway drainage facilities to reduce the threat of flooding but it only takes a few inches of water to create unsafe driving conditions.”

SHA crews are clearing debris from inlets and bridge drains and removing any obstacles under bridges that could reduce efficient water flow.  Additionally crews are readying high water signs and notifying tree contractors to be on standby to clear trees quickly.  On May 1, much of central Maryland encountered up to five inches of rain, which caused widespread flooding.  In some cases, people tried to drive through flooded areas and had to be rescued.

Always remember, turn around, don’t drown, and avoid driving through standing water.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if caught driving in severe weather:

  • Keep gas tanks full in case of unexpected and possible lengthy detours;
  • Keep a charged cellphone handy, but don’t use while driving unless hands-free;
  • Never try to move tree branches that have been entangled in electrical wires or try to move a fallen electrical or communication cable from the travel lanes;
  • Be on alert for animals, such as deer, crossing the roads as they flee flooded areas;
  • Ensure that windshield wipers and all headlights, hazard lights and turn signals are in proper working order; and
  • Allow extra braking distance.

Motorists are reminded that if traffic signals are out at an intersection, ALL directions must come to a complete stop and treat the intersection like a four-way stop. Additionally, low-beam headlights are required when windshield wipers are in operation.

Conditions and roadway closures may change rapidly.  For up to date information, call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website. Remember to use 511 safely – Maryland law prohibits hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.

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