Officials at the Maryland Port Administration said they are monitoring the situation and ready to change plans for the five cargo ship scheduled to arrive in Baltimore on Friday and four on Saturday. The Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas ship was scheduled to leave Baltimore for a nine-night cruise to the Caribbean Thursday, and the Carnival Pride ship is on its way back to Baltimore from the Bahamas.
On Thursday, Ocean City began evacuating its summer workforce of international students to points west, including Towson University.
Towson University spokeswoman Carol Dunsworth said workers will be housed in Burdick Hall, which had three large gymnasiums, where cots and blankets will be set up. The Red Cross will provide meals, Dunsworth said.
The impending hurricane also caused Towson to postpone its weekend move-in plans for about 4,000 students.
Baltimore officials delivered tons of sand and bags late Thursday afternoon for residents and businesses in lowlying areas of the city.
At Fells Point, where prior storms have left watermarks on historic buildings, people scooped up sand and bags quickly, and latecomers waited for another delivery. Some locations were to get as much as 15 tons, with areas refilled as needed Friday, officials said.
"We were told they are expecting a bigger amount of water than ever," said Chris Nova, co-owner of Pitango Gelato, a block from the water, who hoped to get between 20 and 30 bags. He waited, amid a lineup of people perched on the pier's wall, a dolly at his feet to wheel bags to the store.
"I just have some doors I need to cover," he said.
Lauri Krocheski, who lives "close enough" to Fells Point's water, recalled that during Tropical Storm Isabel, water came up to the bottom of the sandbags at her front door, and decided to wait for the city to deliver more sand at the pier.
"We were lucky. I'm hoping we're as lucky this time," she said.
Annapolis will begin dispensing sandbags Friday at 10 a.m.: Market House, at City Dock; Mills Fine Wine & Spirits, on Main Street and at the 2nd Street Pump Station in Eastport.
The storm has already canceled plans for several outdoor activities scheduled for this weekend: Organizers of the inaugural Silopanna Music Festival, which was scheduled to take place in Crownsville Saturday, said tickets will be refunded. Annapolis city officials also called off the city's annual 10 Mile Run – the first time in two decades the event was canceled.
The Maryland State Fair in Timonium is on track to open and operate as scheduled, organizers said. "It would have to get pretty bad for us to close," said assistant general manager Andy Cashman.
The fair, however, has been closed before because of weather, he said. And especially with the recent stage collapse in Indiana, where six people were killed, officials are keeping a close eye on the skies. Officials are in constant touch with the Baltimore County police and fire departments, he said.
"I think we just have to wait and see," he says. "We're here and we're planning on having the fair go on."
Reporters Andrea Siegel, Liz F. Kay, Erik Maza, Annie Linskey and Michelle Deal-Zimmermancontributed to this report.