Ken Hoffman remembers the last heavy rains Bowleys Quarters saw — from Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003, when the water came within a foot of his house.
On Thursday, as the rains fell and water began to cover docks and roads in Bowleys Quarters, he said "I get nervous," adding that he does not have flood insurance for his $400,000 house. By 8 p.m., the National Weather Service reported 8.47 inches — one of the highest rainfall totals for the state.
But as of Friday morning, the worries of severe flooding had receded. There were no reports of any waterfront evacuations or rescues from homes overnight, according to officials at Baltimore County's emergency operations center.
When the tropical storm hit seven years ago, it caused tidal surges of as much as 8 feet in the Chesapeake Bay, flooding entire communities and causing more than 2,000 people to be evacuated from their homes. In Millers Island, a low-lying peninsula in eastern Baltimore County, some residents had to be rescued by boat from the second stories of their homes, and hundreds of thousands were without power.
While Hoffman said he thought the Thursday rains were "almost as much as Isabel," he said the rising waters are a way of life for the waterfront community.
"The worst thing is the basement," he said. Hoffman, the owner of the Carroll Island hardware store for 36 years, said many people had stopped to pick up water pumps, with even a few models selling out.
One of his employees, 18-year-old Bernie Eckert, said his street was terrible and the water level was up to his knees that morning.
Eckert, also a volunteer fireman for the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department, said that, while no homes were evacuated, many roads were closed, including Susquehanna Avenue, and there were a number of downed trees. While out with the Fire Department, he said the 7-foot fence around the Bowleys Marina was flooded — "boats were able to cross over it," he said.
Before coming to work, he took some precautions, such as moving his car to a hill near his house and loosening ropes on his boat so they allow it to rise with the tide. "I'm used to it," Eckert said of preparing for storms.
At the Chesapeake Yachting Center, behind the hardware store, Dawn Sonntag, 43, of Perry Hall drove down to make sure the lines of her boat "Sunrise Sunday" were loose so it would rise with the tide.
"This is the highest I've seen it," she said, surveying the dock that was submerged over the lapping water. Aside from checking on her boat, she said she didn't leave the house Thursday in the heavy rains.
Another boater, Randy Staab, 41, of Dundalk said he came to check on his own, as well as a friend's boat — "we're like a little family," he said, saying they try to help each other out. When he came to see his boat during Isabel, he said the water was up to his waist and the parking lot of the marina was flooded.
He predicted that high tide, at about 1:30 a.m., would raise the water level at least another foot. But after checking on his boat, he was not concerned. "Now I can go home and relax," he said.
At Bruno's Italian Quarters restaurant on Bowleys Quarters Road, residents gathered for a few drinks Thursday night. Much of the conversation focused on the storm.
Dan Richter, 53, a boater who sleeps on his 41-foot Morgan sailboat year-round, said the water has been rough and he thought parts of the seawall would be missing near the Bowleys Marina, where his boat was docked.
"Right now, it's low tide — it hasn't gone down at all," he said. "It's up to the dock now."
When asked how he would prepare, he said he "went out and bought a pack of cigarettes and got a radio to keep me company. I'm guessing I'll be without power tomorrow."
Further down at the bar, Ammie Hassell, 27, showed off pictures of their backyard picnic table, fire pit and dock, which were submerged Thursday afternoon.
Her boyfriend, Darryl Augustyniak, 44, lived in the area when Isabel hit, but when asked if he would move, he asked, "Why?"
"Give me a [tropical storm] every 10 years, I'm still happy," he said. "I moved here from Fells Point, and they're under water," too.
Baltimore County emergency officials reported the following road closures Friday morning due to high water, downed trees or other reasons:
•Trappe and Northpoint;
•Charlesmont and Northpoint;
•Lodgefarm and Blevins;
•Sollers Point between Chesnut and Avondale;
•Trappe and Old North Point Belair Road at Ridgley's Choice Road;
•Baldwin Mill Road at Sweet Air Road;
•Eastern Boulevard at Bowleys Quarters;
•Eastern Boulevard at Earls Road;
•Westbound Pulaski Highway at Route 43;
•Ormes Road between Glider and Rossville;
•Ormes Road at Kelso Drive;
•Stemmers Run Road at Mace Avenue;
•900 block of Bowleys Quarters Road;
•Ormes Road and Sunnyside;
•11832 Eastern Avenue;
•4201 Greenglade Road;
•Old Bosley and Dulaney Valley;
•Warren and Bosley;
•Golden Ring (from Mace to Race Road);
•Susquehanna Avenue at Bowleys Quarters.
Baltimore Sun reporter Liz F. Kay contributed to this article.