Damaging Coastal Storm On Way Out

Flooding, Erosion In Ocean City, But Md. 'Dodged Bullet'

November 14, 2009|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,frank.roylance@baltsun.com

Wind and waves from the powerful nor'easter that has pummeled the Mid- Atlantic coast since Wednesday have eaten away as much as a quarter of Ocean City's dune line.

The sand will have to be replaced, city officials said, but the man-made storm barrier did its job. Other than street flooding and minor wind damage, the resort appears to have weathered the worst of the storm.

"There were no instances of ocean water anywhere west of the dune line, and no damage that we can see from the ocean to any property along the oceanfront," said Mayor Rick Meehan.

"We do have a beach maintenance project scheduled for 2010," he said. "I'm sure that project will increase a bit in scope as a result of this storm."

Elsewhere, high tides and up to 8 inches of rain flooded streams and closed roads in Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore. Emergency managers were watching closely in Crisfield and Cambridge, where high tides late Friday and early today threatened more flooding before the storm departs later today. Numerous roads were underwater in Dorchester and Somerset counties.

"People are accustomed to this," said Wayne Robinson, Dorchester's emergency management director. "This is probably the worst since Isabel [2003], but 3 feet lower than Isabel. ... And the potential is there for more problems late [Friday] and [this] afternoon."

But the reports were reassuring enough Friday morning that the Maryland Emergency Management Agency deactivated its Emergency Operations Center in Reisterstown. While some residents have reported flooded basements and garages, no structural damage, injuries or evacuations have been reported in Maryland.

"We fared well," said MEMA spokesman Ed McDonough. "We pretty well dodged a bullet on this."

Intensified by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, the big coastal storm has lingered, pounding the Mid-Atlantic from the Carolinas to New Jersey.

Flooding closed streets and bridges. Heavy surf eroded beaches and cut power to 155,000 customers in Virginia and North Carolina.

Three New Jersey fishermen died when their boat sank in rough seas Wednesday. Three motorists died in weather-related crashes in Virginia. A 36-year-old surfer died in rough waves in New York, and an elderly man died in North Carolina when a tree fell on him in his yard.

In St. Mary's County, flooding closed the bridge to St. George's Island, stranding residents, McDonough said.

Six to 10 inches of water in the streets at the south end of Ocean City forced officials to close St. Louis and Philadelphia avenues south of 12th Street. Baltimore Avenue, normally one-way northbound, was made a two-way street to preserve access to the U.S. 50 bridge. The Route 90 span at 62nd Street is closed for repairs.

An exit to the north was closed Thursday afternoon when storm tides penetrated the dunes between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach, Del., leaving up to 3 feet of sand and water on the Coastal Highway. The cleanup will begin Sunday, state officials said.

Meanwhile, NASA satellites confirmed Friday that the storm had begun to move away from the coast. Forecasters expect sunny skies by Sunday

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