"Everything else is shut down, so there's not a lot of cars on the road," John Loftus said during a stop on his commute from Silver Spring to Baltimore, where he'll check on construction sites.
"Now tomorrow, once I know everything is safe, that's when I'll stay home. I think tomorrow's going to be the worst of it."
The combination of an extremely dangerous storm surge and tide will cause coastal flooding of as much as six feet in the lower Chesapeake Bay areas and with as much as four feet farther north. Surge-related flooding can vary given the storm's winds and the tide, forecaster said.
By Tuesday evening, temperatures are expected to drop into the low 40s. Southwest wind gusts will be lower but still at about 40 miles per hour. Showers will continue well into Tuesday night. The storm could also cause an 18-inch snowfall in the mountains of Western Maryland.
One the few things not to worry about Monday: a storm surge slopping water into the Baltimore Harbor.
Jim Lee, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that despite the high tide from the full moon, winds from Hurricane Sandy will create a "blow-out" tide, pushing water out of the harbor as the hurricane slops over land.
But Lee said to expect a surge on Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy's winds shift course.
"As Sandy treks north, then the wind starts coming out of the south, and we're expecting some of that water to blow back in," Lee said.
Sandy, as of Monday afternoon a Category 1 hurricane sandwiched between weather systems steering it toward land, has forced coastal evacuations from the Eastern Shore to New York City.
"They've towed all the cars off the street," said Brett Henry, manger of Henderson's Wharf Inn in Fells Point. "It's pretty much a ghost town, so to speak."
The hotel suffered extensive flood damage from Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003. For Hurricane Sandy, the hotel decide to shut its doors completely.
Henry plans to ride out the storm at the hotel, keeping an eye on the rising tide into Monday night and Tuesday, he said.
Schools across the region were closed, governments and trash collection halted, and major public transportation systems shut down in anticipation of a pummeling from Sandy. Harford County schools have announced that they will be closed Tuesday, with code green for employees.
Annapolis closed the harbor at City Dock, suspended all bus service and called off trash collection. As of 10:30 a.m., there had been no reports of flooding in the city, but with water already pooling, officials expect floods as Hurricane Sandy gets closer to land.
Anne Arundel County government will be closed Tuesday, said Dave Abrams, a county spokesman.
County Executive John R. Leopold is answering phones at the county's emergency operations center, he said. Three roads prone to flooding have already been closed: River Road in Crownsville, Governor's Bridge road near Davidsonville and Montevideo Road near Jessup.
The single shelter set up by the county had 27 people and two cats at 1 p.m. Monday, Abrams said. The pet-friendly shelter is at Annapolis High School.
Arundel Mills mall announced it would be closed Monday.
The Annapolis director of emergency management, Kevin J. Simmons, said city police officers are pairing with National Guard with Humvees in order to make patrols Monday. He said the city has also sent out community notifications to residents in low-lying areas urging them to take shelter inland. Annapolis High School is open to residents.
A tree fell on a house in the 400 block of Maple Road West In Linthcum, Anne Arundel county police reported around noon. It took down wires and firefighters helped five people get out of the house, said Division Chief Michael Cox, fire department spokesman No one was injured, he said.
There were about a dozen weather-related problems on Monday, including trees and wires down, and car crashes, none serious, he said.
Robert B. Thomas, Jr., a Harford County spokesman, said Beards Hill Road and Maxa Road in Aberdeen had been closed this morning due to flooding. "We do have some areas of the county where we've had some trees fallen," he said. But no other damage has been reported this morning, he said.
Battalion Chief Eric Proctor with the Howard County fire department said the county remained relatively quiet Monday morning. "We're just bracing. No increase in our call volume yet," he said.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz declared a state of emergency for the county Monday morning. He said in a statement that the county will open an emergency shelter at Eastern Technical High School, 1100 Mace Ave., at 1 p.m. Monday. The shelter is pet-friendly. He also said that trash and recycling pick-ups are suspended from 2 p.m. Monday today through Tuesday.
All remaining flights Tuesday out of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have been canceled, said spokesman Jonathan Dean.