The loud whir of a blower pierced the air as Bob Collins, who has lived on Beach Drive in Carroll Island for 16 years, cleared leaves from his gutters with the help of his girlfriend, Melissa Figinski of Columbia.
"I've tied everything down and pulled my boat from the water, so we're battening down the hatches," said Collins, who owns Accurate Termite-Pest Control Co. "But you're really powerless against the water."
Collins said his home was heavily damaged when Hurricane Isabel rumbled through the neighborhood in 2003.
"Everything on the first floor was ruined. I lost my workshop in the garage. My neighbor came on his Jet Ski into the living room and saved my daughter and then-wife," he said.
And in Fells Point, a neighborhood that often floods during weather events, a spirit of friendly preparedness manifested itself.
Steven Bond, a city Department of Transportation employee, said residents helped themselves to about 1,000 bags of sand an hour throughout Sunday at the foot of Broadway. A similar amount of bag-your-own sand was distributed at Thames and Caroline streets.
"It's flowing out of here. We have a good system going," he said.
Tanya Dunsey, who lives on Durham Street, said she was taking no chances after she saw a "torrential river of water" flow past her front door during other storms.
Others took the precautions in stride and seemed to be enjoying the assembly of people, which often included parents and their children.
"Look at the sense community here," said Jessica Gergen, who lives in Butchers Hill, as she surveyed the residents helping residents fill their bags with shovels and move the 45-pound plastic sacks to car trunks.
At Kooper's tavern on Thames Street, bar server Jessica Garonzik was even making a special drink, named a Dark and Stormy, a mixture of dark rum and ginger beer. At $5, the beverage has been a good seller throughout the weekend.
Elliott, the meteorologist, said there are still so many variables in play that it's hard to predict just where Hurricane Sandy will rank in the annals of American storms, though he was sure it would be in the conversation.
"People are going to be talking about this for decades," he said.
But at least one Baltimorean guessed the memories might not be all bad. Garrett Giusti, who owns a home on Fountain Street, said as scary as it is, the monster storm is already bringing positives to the fore.
"I prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Giusti said as he dumped a few sand bags in his trunk. "But look at the good spirit here. Everyone is helping out."