Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Maryland Governor Wes Moore looks beyond history to "a state that leaves no one behind" in inauguration speech


The inauguration of Wes Moore (D) as Governor of Maryland was a slightly more star-studded affair than those of his outgoing predecessor, Larry Hogan (R). For starters, Moore was introduced by Oprah Winfrey. Behind her in the grandstand seating area overlooking Lawyers' Mall in Annapolis was Chelsea Clinton. But Moore made a point of recognizing Hogan. Turning to the former governor, Moore said, "we are grateful and thankful for the kindness that you and your team have shown throughout this entire transition period. Thank you for eight years of great service to a state that we both love." Moore then paused deliberately, and the crowd stood to give Hogan a standing ovation.

Calling one-time Baltimore TV news anchor Winfrey a "Maryland girl at heart," Moore thanked her "for always being in my corner." He also recognized his wife and children. And then Moore became the first African-American to deliver an inaugural speech as governor of Maryland. 

The historic nature of the moment could not be ignored. Moore took an oath of office earlier Wednesday with his hand on a bible belonging to Frederick Douglass. Noting that he was speaking blocks away from the Annapolis city docks where African slaves once arrived, Moore recalled the "uneven and unimaginable progress" African-Americans have made since then. 

But Maryland is also a state "where anything is possible," Moore added in welcoming his Jamaican immigrant mother and the Indian immigrant mother of his Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller to another standing ovation. On her own history-making road to the second-highest statewide office in Maryland, Miller was sworn in with her hand on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, the most-revered of Hindu texts.

Shifting his focus to the present and future, Moore said "this journey has never been about making history. It's about marching forward. Today is not an idictment of our past. Today is a celebration of our collective future." Nodding to the balancing act he will have to perform between the many interest groups making expensive demands of his new administration, and maintaining the state's relatively-solid fiscal standing, Moore spoke of being "disciplined" and "making hard choices." 

The new governor asked how it could be that a state with such revenue could also be a state where one in eight children live in poverty, and 250,000 people lack health insurance. In a zero-sum perspective of winners and losers, "we've come to expect that the people who have lost will keep losing," Moore said. "We must refuse to accept that," Moore declared, punctuating each word with a strike of his palm on the podium. 

Moore spoke of the need to improve the state's business climate, and to attract aerospace, clean energy, and cybersecurity firms. Hogan was successful in bringing a Hitachi rail car factory to Hagerstown, a Greenland Technologies electric vehicle plant to White Marsh, and a United Safety Technology medical supply factory to Baltimore. But Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in over 25 years, and has lost several of the few Fortune 500 companies it had during that time.

Such economic growth needs to be balanced with higher wages and security for workers, Moore argued. "Maryland can be the best place in America for employers and employees," he said.

Noting rising crime across the state, Moore said "many Marylanders have grown weary in their faith that governments can actually keep them safe." But he vowed, "we cannot and will not militarize ourselves to safety," and pointed to the fact that "Maryland encarcerates more black boys than any other state in this country." He said he is a governor who "knows what it feels like to have handcuffs on my wrists...I felt that when I was 11 years old. I also know what it's like to stand with families and mourn the victims of violent crime. We do not have to choose between being a safe state and a just one."

Moore promised Maryland will run on 100% clean energy by 2035, and create thousands of jobs in the process, by focusing on wind power. He said not every child needs to go to college to be successful, citing his path of military service and community college. "I think things worked out pretty well," he added.

Like many inaugural speeches, Moore's was short on actual policies and expense numbers. One specific plan he identified was creating a service year option for high school graduates. He also promised to be successful despite skeptics who say he will be unable to overcome "toxic partisanship." There is no such obstacle in Annapolis, however, as Democrats control every office and chamber of state government. Moore's actual challenge will be to reign in the aspirations of his own party, after eight years of the Hogan administration. And even Hogan was unable to block much of the Democrats' agenda during that time.

Recognizing that position of near-total power, Moore promised that "we have a unique place and space to do something special." Moore is in a unique and powerful position himself, to leverage a successful gubernatorial term and sparkling resume into not-so-distant future presidential campaign conversations, in a party that has had difficulty finding the next John F. Kennedy or Barack Obama in its youthful ranks since 2016.

"Now is the opportunity we have to march forward, and to march together," Moore concluded. "And let us march on 'til victory is won. Today is not the victory. Today is the opportunity. It is our opportunity to lead with love. It is our opportunity to create with compassion. It's our opportunity to fight fearlessly for our future. Maryland, our time is right now. Our time is now to build a state that, for those who came before us, that they fought for, and it's a state that leaves no one behind. This is not a slogan. It is the fulfillment of a hope. Maryland, it's time, let's lead, and let's do it together. God bless you all, and thank you so much."

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Maryland Governor-Elect Wes Moore visits Rockville non-profit ahead of inauguration


Maryland Governor-Elect Wes Moore (D) visited Rockville non-profit Interfaith Works on Monday, as he participated in volunteer efforts at locations across the state for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Moore met with Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D), and helped prepare meals. He praised Interfaith Works for performing "vital work to uplift Marylanders experiencing poverty." Moore will be sworn in as Maryland's new governor tomorrow, January 18, 2023 at 12:00 PM in Annapolis.


Maryland Gov.-elect Wes Moore greets
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

Photos courtesy Wes Moore/Marc Elrich on Twitter


Friday, December 23, 2022

Frosty Siberian winds lead to falling trees, power outages across Montgomery County and D.C. area

Darkened apartments along
Georgia Avenue near Wheaton Friday night

It's been a "wild and wooly" day across the Washington, D.C. region and much of the nation, to use the words of the telephone meteorologist of old. Gusty winds that have blown from Siberia and down through Canada joined with a bomb cyclone winter weather event to start Friday with a blast of ice. The winds have stuck around through the evening, leading to many falling limbs and trees, and the resulting power outages.


There are currently 8,459 Pepco customers without power in the D.C. Metro area. Outages are widespread over the entire map of Montgomery County. The most concentrated outages are in the Silver Spring, Wheaton, Calverton, Gaithersburg and Germantown areas. In Rockville, there are significant outages in the King Farm, Twinbrook, West End and College Gardens neighborhoods. Bethesda residents are in the dark in a couple of spots along the Bradley Boulevard corridor, and in Westgate near the D.C. line. Over the border, there are outages in the Palisades and Wesley Heights in Northwest Washington.

The current temperature is 11 degrees. Winds are gusting at 18 MPH, and a wind chill advisory is in effect until 10:00 AM Saturday morning. Be sure to fully cover up if you have to go outside to avoid frostbite. Remember that dark intersections during power outages are to be treated as a four-way stop - but proceed with caution, as many drivers ignore this and will steam through the intersection anyway, or rear-end you if you conscientiously try to stop as the law requires. The best advice is to stay off the roads if you can.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando added to Wes Moore steering committee


Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D - At-Large) was added to the transition Steering Committee for the incoming administration of Maryland governor-elect Wes Moore (D), lieutenant governor-elect Aruna Miller (D) announced Thursday. Jawando, who was just reelected to a second term on the Council earlier this month, joins Maryland Business-Clergy Partnership Co-Chairman Joe Gaskins as the newest members of the committee. 

“Councilman Jawando and Joe Gaskins are critical additions to our transition team," Miller said in a statement. "We have so much work to do together to ensure that this is Maryland’s decade. I look forward to working closely with Councilman Jawando and Joe Gaskins, and our entire transition team, to lay the foundation for a stronger, healthier, and wealthier Maryland.”

"It's a honor to serve as we work towards a stronger and more equitable Maryland!" Jawando tweeted Thursday night. Jawando and Moore are both veterans of the administration of President Barack Obama.

Photo courtesy Montgomery County Council website 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Montgomery County Council passes gun bill despite assurance of expensive court fight


The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a gun control bill yesterday that will prevent lawful gun owners with concealed carry permits to carry their firearms within a massive swath of the jurisdiction. Because the bill designates so many types of common buildings and spaces as gun-free zones, and includes the area around them up to 100 yards, it renders the recently-affirmed right to carry a gun outside the home nearly impossible to exercise. Councilmembers may find themselves on the stand in a courtroom within the next year as a result. County taxpayers will pick up the tab to defend any legal challenge to the new law. 

The bill also adjusted language in the County's recent law on privately-manufactured firearms to match the new state restrictions on them. Despite Maryland having passed some of the most-restrictive gun laws in the nation in the previous decade, and the Council having passed a PMP bill last year, the Council acknowledged in a press release that the County is nevertheless still experiencing "an epidemic of gun violence." 

"I continue to believe that guns create immeasurably more problems, often with tragic outcomes, than they attempt to solve,” Council President Gabe Albornoz (D -At-Large) said in a statement. “This legislation will help to ensure that we do everything possible to minimize the number of guns in our public space." Albornoz led the effort to pass the PMP bill in 2021. 

"[T]his will go into effect very rapidly, and we’ll be moving in court, equally rapidly,” Mark Pennak, President of gun rights organization Maryland Shall Issue told DC News Now following the Council vote.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Maryland governor-elect Wes Moore names first cabinet members, with heavy emphasis on Baltimore

Wes Moore introduces Fagan Harris (left) as
his Chief of Staff Monday

Maryland governor-elect Wes Moore (D) held a press conference Monday to introduce his choices for several positions in his future cabinet. He was joined by running mate Aruna Miller, as he presented five nominees who face the challenge of helping him translate campaign promises into legislation and accomplishments. 

Moore named Fagan Harris as his Chief of Staff. Harris co-founded non-profit Baltimore Corps with Moore, He is also a President Joe Biden appointee to the AmeriCorps Board of Directors. 

Another non-profit sector veteran, Tisha Edwards, was named as Moore's Secretary of Appointments. That's the political position current Gov. Larry Hogan (R) held before assuming the top office in the state. Edwards is also known for creating the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success in Baltimore City,

Moore stuck with Baltimore for his third appointment. Helene Grady is vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer for Johns Hopkins University. She will serve as the Secretary for the Department of Budget and Management.

Amanda LaForge, who served as counsel to Moore's gubernatorial campaign, will now be his Chief Legal Counsel. LaForge served that role in the past for the Democratic National Committee. She was most recently Of Counsel to the firm of Sandler, Reiff, Lamb, Rosenstein & Birkenstock, PC.

Finally, Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke (D - District 14) was announced as Moore's selection to be his Chief Legislative Officer. Luedtke will have to give up his seat and his enviable position as Majority Leader in the House. The potential for a plum job for the next eight years may make that an easy choice for Luedtke, who has represented parts of Silver Spring, Burtonsville, Olney, Damascus, Brookeville and Sandy Spring in his current office.

Photo courtesy Moore for Maryland

Montgomery County Council to vote on gun control bill today that may trigger a lawsuit


The Montgomery County Council will vote on a gun control bill during its 9:30 AM session this morning that is designed to stymie the right to carry a firearm in public, by designating an exhaustive number of places as gun-free zones. Bill 21-22 would make it illegal for concealed carry permit holders to carry a firearm over so much of the geographical area of the county, as to render that recently-Supreme Court-ruled right nearly impracticable to exercise. That will almost surely invite legal challenges, for which County taxpayers will pick up the tab.

Should the bill pass this morning, it would make it illegal to possess a firearm within 100 yards of any publicly or privately-owned 

  • park
  • place of worship
  • school
  • library
  • recreational facility
  • hospital
  • community health center, including any health care facility or community-based program licensed by the Maryland Department of Health
  • long-term facility, including any licensed nursing home, group home, or care home
  • multipurpose exhibition facility, such as a fairgrounds or conference center
  • childcare facility

Possession of firearms, even legally, would also become criminal inside the following buildings, which have now been defined to include the building's parking lot and grounds:

  • government building, including any place owned by or under the control of the County
  • polling place
  • courthouse
  • legislative assembly, and
  • a gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional right to protest or assemble

Friday, November 11, 2022

Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore announces transition team leaders, meets Larry Hogan in Annapolis


Maryland Goveror-elect Wes Moore (D) held his first press conference yesterday, to announce the leaders of his transition team. "We are going to move fast, we're going to be bold, we're going to be fearless," Moore told reporters assembled at the University of Maryland in College Park Thursday. He also met with currrent Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) at the State House in Annapolis, privately and then later at a joint press conference.

Moore said his transition team is moving forward under the principles his campaign had promised were "going to be north stars" in a Moore-Miller administration. "That this was going to be an administration that looks like the state of Maryland.," Moore recalled. "That this was going to be an administration that was going to be transparent. That this was going to be an administration that was inclusive."

The governor-elect announced that his running mate, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Aruna Miller, would be the chair of his transition team. Miller said that Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore President Shelonda Stokes, Moore campaign treasurer Mary Tydings, and former Howard County Executive Kenneth Ulman will serve as co-chairs of the transition. The transition director will be Cleo Hirsch, who directed the COVID-19 response for Baltimore City Public Schools. 


HIrsch said the geographical location for a physical transition headquarters has not been determined yet, but that the campaign has utilized a hybrid of virtual and in-person operations all year. Miller announced that the public can submit feedback to the incoming administration, apply for jobs or learn more about the transition team in the coming weeks at MooreMillerMD.com.

A steering committee was also announced at the press conference. Members from across the state include Montgomery County State Senator Susan Lee, former Maryland governor Parris Glendening and Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan. Miller said that town hall meetings will be held with online participation during the transition.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Maryland election results: Democrats sweep statewide offices, Neil Parrott leads David Trone in District 6 race


Maryland election results found Democrats making a clean sweep of statewide offices on the 2022 ballot. Wes Moore will be the first African-American governor of the state, as he and running mate Aruna Miller currently lead the Republican ticket of Dan Cox and Gordana Schifanelli 59.62% to 36.98%. With a stronger resume than Barack Obama had when he rose to national prominence, Moore is likely to figure into Democratic presidential discussions sooner rather than later.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was quick to congratulate Moore on his victory, but has not yet said whether he voted for the Democrat. Hogan was out of the state pursuing his presidential ambitions in the final days before the July 2022 GOP primary, rather than stumping for his handpicked successor, Kelly Schulz. When Schulz lost to Cox, Hogan enraged many Republicans by declaring he would not support Cox in the November election. With the popular governor witholding his coattails, limited funds and Moore agreeing to only one televised debate, Cox faced an uphill battle to expand his base.

Cox's Trump endorsement didn't pay dividends in the general election, either, in a state where Trump is beloved by Republicans, but not so much by independents. His loss is likely to strengthen the hand of the Republican establishment in the 2026 gubernatorial race. Pat Sajak and Cal Ripken, Jr. remain dream candidates for the GOP. Closer to earth, Maryland State Senator Michael Hough - currently leading in the race for Frederick County Executive - is highly regarded by members of both parties in Annapolis, and has been mentioned as a likely statewide candidate in the future. Other names are sure to emerge from the party's county-level officials and activists around the state in the coming months.

It's also worth noting that no gubernatorial ticket since 1998 has won without an African-American on it. Republican Bob Ehrlich won with Michael Steele as his running mate in 2002, but later lost twice with white women running to be his lieutenant. Hogan won twice with Boyd Rutherford on his ticket. Note to future Republican candidates: black voters account for 32% of the Maryland electorate.

The Maryland comptroller race wasn't as close as some thought it would be. Democrat Brooke Lierman easily defeated Harford County Executive Barry Glassman to replace outgoing taxman Peter Franchot. Lierman, a state delegate, said she received a "gracious" concession call from Glassman shortly before midnight Tuesday.

Democrat Anthony Brown, who was upset in the governor's race by Hogan eight years ago, had a much better election night in 2022. The congressman defeated Republican Michael Peroutka by what current results show is a 20-point margin. Peroutka did beat Brown in 18 of the state's counties, however.

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D) handily beat Republican challenger Chris Chaffee. The Democrat recently suffered a stroke, but appeared to have fully recovered well before Election Day. Many Republicans had hoped Hogan would run for the Senate, but the governor is focused on a 2024 presidential run.

The election results were not all bad news for Republicans.

Republicans may pick up an additional seat in Congress from Maryland. GOP nominee Neil Parrott is ahead of Democratic incumbent David Trone as of this hour by 51.07% to 48.81%. The 6th congressional district became more favorable to Republicans in the most recent redistricting, but is not as GOP-friendly as it was when Roscoe Bartlett was the last Republican to hold it. If Parrott holds on to win, he would join Dr. Andy Harris (R - 1st District) in the Maryland delegation.

Nicolee Ambrose nearly pulled off a GOP victory in the District 2 congressional race. She currently trails Democratic incumbent C. Dutch Ruppersberger 46.40% to 53.47%. Republicans had hopes of defeating Democrat John Sarbanes in District 3, which was nationally recognized as one of the most egregiously-gerrymandered districts in America. Sarbanes appears to have decisively won reelection, leading GOP challenger Yuripzy Morgan 54.98% to 44.92%. Morgan ran an energetic campaign, but the district remains gerrymandered despite its more-reasonable appearance on the redrawn congressional map.

On key statewide ballot questions, Marylanders voted to rename the Maryland Court of Special Appeals as the Maryland Supreme Court, and to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Dan Cox endorsed by National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition in Maryland governor race


Dan Cox
, the Republican nominee for Maryland governor, picked up a last-minute endorsement from a key veterans group ahead of Tuesday's election. The National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition endorsed the state delegate from Frederick County on Saturday. "[Dan's] experience, knowledge, and patriotism are especially needed among America's governors at this particular time in our history when our beloved country is at risk," NVGWVC Chairman John J. Molloy said in a statement. "Accordingly, the Board of the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition was polled, and has approved the endorsement of [his] candidacy."

"I am incredibly honored to announce my endorsement for Governor by the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition," Cox said in a press release from his campaign. "Thank you to the Board of Directors & Chairman John J. Molloy, OSJ for their support and endorsement to be your next Governor of Maryland. I have and always will stand with our veterans, and will work to end the 22-a-day suicides, expand CAM treatment coverage, and fight to ensure pension and retirement taxes are eliminated."

Cox received the group's nod over Democratic opponent Wes Moore. Moore is a combat veteran who has been endorsed by the VoteVets PAC. Cox is a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol).

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Maryland governor candidate Wes Moore campaigns in Montgomery County


Wes Moore
, the Democratic nominee for Maryland governor, made a stop at several Bethesda businesses while on the campaign trail in Montgomery County today, including Smoke BBQ at 4858 Cordell Avenue. The candidate was touring the downtown with local Democratic elected officials. Montgomery County is a major electoral prize in any statewide race, and a Democratic stronghold.


Moore's running mate, Montgomery County resident Aruna Miller, was also part of the entourage. Next Tuesday's election will find Moore facing off with Republican Dan Cox, Green Party candidate Nancy Wallace, Libertarian David Lashar, Working Class Party candidate David Harding, and Independent write-in candidate Kyle Sefcik for the highest office in Maryland.

Photos courtesy Smoke BBQ, Moore for Maryland

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Pepper spray sales soar along with crime in Montgomery County


Violent crime continues to rise in Montgomery County, with assaults, armed robberies and carjackings regularly making headlines. Now pepper spray sales are also rising. This pepper spray section at Target in downtown Bethesda was virtually cleaned out yesterday. 


Maryland's highly-restrictive gun laws leave residents few options for self-defense beyond staying alert to their surroundings. Others simply may not wish to carry or use a firearm. Whatever the reason, it's clear that pepper spray sales are hot at the moment, reflecting strong concern about the crime situation.



Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Montgomery County community leaders ask U.S. Department of Justice to place M-NCPPC under receivership


The struggle between Montgomery County residents who are demanding an investigation of scandals within the County Planning Board and Planning Department, and a County Council who want to sweep those scandals under the rug and quickly install five new cronies on the Board, took another turn today with a protest at the Montgomery County Council Building in Rockville. Multiple community and organizational leaders have signed a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking federal law enforcement to place the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (the umbrella entity that houses the board and Planning Department) under receivership. They've asked that it remain under receivership until a full, independent investigation of the scandals is completed, and that County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council be included as targets of the investigation.

"What is essential in this moment is not deliberate speed, but deliberation—with vigorous public input and oversight to ensure that any actor involved in the racism, sexism, corruption, and illegal activities is removed from Montgomery County office and is held responsible to the fullest extent of the law," the letter states. "In conclusion, Parks and Planning is broken. Expecting the County Council and Office of the Executive to solve a problem they had a hand in creating is not an effective solution. M-NCPPC needs fundamental change to address the systemic racism that has been baked into the commission since its inception. Those who are clamoring to fill Planning Board vacancies  must not be allowed to do so within the framework of a demonstratively racist, hostile, and opaque system—that they themselves have supported, condoned, and maintained."

The letter is signed by the Montgomery County Poor People’s Campaign, the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees, the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, the United Front for Justice, the Reverend Segun Adebayo of Macedonia Baptist Church in Bethesda, Empower DC, the Montgomery County Green Party, the Anti-Racist Bethesda Coalition, the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition, Bethesda resident Mr. James McGee, and Nancy Wallace, the gubernatorial candidate for the Green Party in Maryland. It has also been sent to members of the U.S. Congress, and the County Council.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Washington Post endorses Barry Glassman for Maryland comptroller


Harford County Executive Barry Glassman has picked up a major endorsement in his quest to be the next comptroller of Maryland. The Washington Post endorsed Glassman, the only Republican they have endorsed in a statewide Maryland race in the November election. 

The Post Editorial Board cited two major reasons they support Glassman: he would not block the proposed I-495/I-270 Express Lanes in the comptroller's role on the state's Board of Public Works; and he would be focused on maximizing returns for retired state workers through the pension fund the comptroller administers. They argued that Glassman's opponent, Democrat Brooke Lierman, would block the Express Lanes project, and has vowed to make pension fund decisions through a political and ideological lens, such as steering away from fossil fuels. Overall, they said Glassman would be more focused on fiscal responsibility and the other basic functions of the office of comptroller than his opponent, but acknowledged that both candidates are highly-qualified to serve in the office.

Glassman has been endorsed by the current Republican governor, Larry Hogan. Hogan appears in a new Glassman campaign ad touting both men's "middle-of-the-road" Republicanism, amidst a party now led by Donald Trump. His Glassman endorsement will test the Hogan coattails in Maryland again, following a Trump-fueled defeat of Hogan's hand-picked candidate for governor in the July primary.

Beginning his career on the Harford County Council, Glassman later served as a state delegate and senator in Annapolis. He is now in his second term as Harford County Executive. Lierman is a graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, and currently represents District 46 in the Maryland House of Delegates. She is a civil rights attorney and serves on the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Hurricane Ian now Tropical Rainstorm Ian In North Carolina, minimal impact so far on Maryland, Rockville


Hurricane Ian is blamed for the deaths of more than 14 people in the southern United States so far, but as Tropical Rainstorm Ian, its outer bands have not made much of a scratch on the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia areas yet. At this hour, there is only 1 power outage in Montgomery County, caused by a fallen utility pole in the Four Corners area of Silver Spring. Rain has not been constant, and winds have been more breezy than gusty to this point.

Ian's predicted path today and
overnight into Sunday

The National Hurricane Center reports Post-Tropical Cyclone Ian's current location is north of Greensboro, North Carolina, approaching the Virginia border at 10 MPH. Its current maximum sustained winds are only 25 MPH.

Rockville's forecast from the National Weather Service calls for rain or drizzle, and patchy fog for the remainder of this afternoon. Winds will be 16 MPH, with gusts up to 29 MPH. Tonight, rain turning to drizzle at 7:00 PM. Patchy fog will continue to pop up across the area, and the low temperature will be 54 degrees. Wind gusts will top out at 18 MPH.

Sunday morning, those wind gusts will get stronger again, with a maximum gust of 29 MPH. There will be a 90% chance of showers. Sunday night, wind gusts will remain strong at 28 MPH, but rain will taper off after 2:00 AM. Monday will stay breezy, but the forecast has improved with partly sunny conditions for most of the day, and a 30% chance of showers.

Ian caused many major events around the state to be canceled, including the Taste of Bethesda, and the Oceans Calling festival in Ocean City. Public officials and event organizers were put in a difficult position, and have chosen to err on the side of caution in many cases.

Graphics courtesy National Hurricane Center (top)/Accuweather.com (bottom)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Hurricane Ian outer rain bands to reach Maryland, Virginia today as eye makes landfall in South Carolina


The first outer rain bands of Hurricane Ian will reach the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area around the middle of this afternoon, as D.C., Maryland and Virginia get their first splash of what will be a very wet weekend. Around the same time, Ian will make its third landfall on the coast of South Carolina. Accuweather forecasts a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet in South Carolina, with the greatest impacts north of Charleston, and in the vicinity of Georgetown and Myrtle Beach. The South Carolina and Georgia coasts could experience a total rainfall of 8 to 12 inches, and up to 18 inches in some spots. Rainfall will likely total 4-8" in North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Here in Maryland, the localized flood risk will first loom tonight, and today will feature the highest wind gusts of 37 MPH. Winds will drop to gusts of 21 MPH on Saturday and Sunday, Total rainfall in Maryland and Montgomery County is expected to be about 2 inches over the weekend. However, if Ian were to move out over the ocean again or stall over our area, that total could more than double. So be prepared for all potential outcomes.

As of 5:00 AM this morning, the National Hurricane Center reports Hurricane Ian's current location is 145 miles SSE of Charleston, South Carolina. It is moving NNE at 9 MPH. Ian's current maximum sustained winds are measured at 85 MPH.

Graphic courtesy National Weather Service

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hurricane Ian remnants to impact Maryland sooner than expected, after stops in Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia


The worst of Hurricane Ian may have already passed in Florida, but the now-Tropical Storm is expected to make a speedy trip up the East Coast, including a jaunt out to sea and another landfall somewhere in the South. Yesterday, Ian's timetable for arrival in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and North Virginia area began to look like it was slipping from early next week to this weekend. Now, Accuweather is forecasting the first rains of Ian to arrive in the Mid-Atlantic as early as tomorrow. 

Tropical rain showers are now expected all weekend, and showers may continue from Monday into Wednesday. This does not look good for events like Taste of Bethesda this Saturday. Rain associated with Ian will arrive well ahead of the actual storm center, which is expected to pass through Maryland sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Ian has further business south of here first, however. After crawling across mainland Florida, the storm will go back over the Atlantic, and make another landfall tomorrow evening. Accuweather currently predicts Ian's landfall will be somewhere near the border of Georgia and South Carolina Friday night; the National Hurricane Center's prediction is for a landfall in South Carolina. 

The full impact of Ian's second landfall, and the strength of the storm's remnants when it arrives here in the D.C. area, will be determined by how long it drifts over the waters of the Atlantic prior to Friday night's landfall. The National Hurricane Center says the storm could again near hurricane strength as it approaches land.

Ian already has shown plenty of destructive power after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Over 2 million utility customers in Florida are currently without electricity. Accuweather reports that every customer in Hardee County, Florida is in the dark. Part of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed, the only bridge between Sanibel Island and mainland Florida. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said earlier this morning that helicopter rescues are being performed on barrier islands by the Coast Guard and Florida National Guard. He said 100 portable cell towers are being set up to restore some level of phone service, and that power line infrastructure in the hardest hit areas would in some cases have to be entirely rebuilt. Pine Island Bridge, like the Sanibel Causeway, is damaged and impassable, he added.

Fox Weather reports that there are believed to be hundreds of fatalities in Lee County, Florida, according to the sheriff there. Accuweather reports one confirmed death in Florida from Hurricane Ian, a 72-year-old man in Deltona. He slipped down a hill behind his home into a flooding drainage ditch while trying to drain his pool as the storm approached his area at 1:00 AM this morning. Fox Weather also reports Ian has caused a 200-year flood event in Orlando. More than a foot of rain has fallen on the city.

DeSantis said his state has all of the supplies it needs for storm victims. "It's much better to donate financially, rather than sending items. We've got a lot of items," he said at a news conference this morning. Those seeking to help storm victims displaced in Florida can have the greatest impact by donating funds at FloridaDisasterFund.org, or text DISASTER to 20222, he said. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis said the fund has already raised $1.6 million in the last 24 hours.

Tropical Storm Ian's current location is 40 miles east of Orlando, the National Hurricane Center reports. Its current maximum sustained winds are at 65 MPH, and it is moving NE at 8 MPH.

Graphic courtesy Accuweather.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hurricane Ian still on track to eventually hit Maryland; now nearing landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm


Hurricane Ian is still on a track that will eventually take it to Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, according to a model posted by Accuweather.com. The newest update shows the storm making its turn toward the Atlantic Ocean at a slightly later point than predicted earlier, with the center of the storm now passing north of Washington and more directly over Baltimore, before heading out to sea over Atlantic City. This track is subject to change from many variables.


Accuweather forecasts the storm arriving in the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday or Monday. It predicts Ian will drop about an inch of rain on our area by the time it moves off to the Atlantic.


Earlier this hour, the National Hurricane Center reported that Hurricane Ian's current location is 75 miles WSW of Naples, Florida, and has strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane. It is moving north-northeast at 10 MPH. Maximum sustained winds are near 140 MPH, with gusts over 140 MPH. Landall on the Gulf Coast of Florida is expected this afternoon, according to ABC News.

Graphics courtesy Accuweather.com

Monday, September 26, 2022

Will Hurricane Ian hit the Washington D.C. area? This newest track shows it's very likely.


Hurricane Ian's current location is 325 miles south-southwest of Key West, Florida, according to the National Hurricane center. But after Ian hits the Gulf Coast of Florida - currently anticipated to occur Thursday - as a potential Category 4 storm upon landfall, will its path ultimately affect the Washington, D.C. area, including Rockville and Montgomery County in Maryland? Accuweather's latest track shows a very good chance that it will.


The last position forecast on the map at this time predicts Ian will pass east of Atlanta, west of Charlotte, and be aimed directly at the Washington, D.C. area as it arcs back toward the Atlantic Ocean. At that position on October 3, 2022, Accuweather shows Ian directly north of Lynchburg, Virginia. Extending the path from that point on the same curvature would show the remnants of Ian making a direct hit on the Washington, D.C. area. Accuweather predicts Ian will have maximum sustained wind gusts of 35 MPH as of that time, and maximum wind gusts of up to 46 MPH - certainly well below hurricane-force winds, but still a risk for downed trees and power lines.


Of course, forecasters can't even guarantee the exact point where Ian will make landfall in Florida yet, so much of this model's track could easily change. But what it does show is that there are strong odds the storm will greatly impact our area for at least one day next week, with the potential for high winds, heavy rain, flooding and tornadic activity. Now is the time to think ahead, and ensure you have batteries, a half-tank of gas in your car, some extra non-perishable food on hand if power goes out, and a battery-powered radio.

Images courtesy of Accuweather.com

Maryland GOP Lt. Governor candidate to appear in Montgomery County September 27


The Republican nominee for Maryland lieutenant governor, Gordana Schifanelli, will appear at a free event in Potomac tomorrow evening, September 27, 2022 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. It will be held at the Old Anglers Inn at 10801 MacArthur Boulevard. While admission is free, RSVP online to attend. 

Schifanelli is running on the GOP ticket with gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox, who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump. Cox and Schifanelli will face Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore and lieutenant governor candidate Aruna Miller in the November general election.

Photo via Gordana Schifanelli for Lt. Governor of Maryland Facebook