Hurricanes, Severe Storms, and Flooding


Baltimore is prone to flooding from a number of different sources. The city has approximately 52 miles of shoreline, which can rise dramatically during certain weather conditions. Additionally, the city lies within two major drainage basins—the Patapsco River Basin and Back River Basin. The Gwynns Falls drains the northwest and western portions of the city, and the Jones Falls drains the upper northwest and central portions of the city, both emptying into the Patapsco River. Herring Run drains the eastern part of the city, emptying into Back River in Baltimore County. During periods of heavy rainfall, these tributaries can be subject to dangerous riverine flooding.

An illustration of a flooded basement with the text "How prepared are you for a flood?"The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a 90-second animation that illustrates what you should do before, during, and after a flood. The video contains helpful information to help you weather the storm.

FEMA also maintains, which can help you learn more about flood insurance, flood maps, and preparedness.

Terms to know

Hurricane watch—Hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hrs.

Steps to take:

  • Review your evacuation route(s) and listen to local officials.
  • Review the items in your disaster supply kit. Add items to meet the needs of children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs, or household pets.

Hurricane warning—Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hrs.

Steps to take:

  • Follow evacuation orders from local officials, if given.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.

For more information about hurricanes and tropical storms, or for up-to-date watch and warning information, visit the National Hurricane Center.

Personal Safety & Property Maintenance

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
  • Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and copies of any critical information if you need to evacuate.
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan to have adequate supplies, in case you lose power and/or water for several days and are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.