Sun Is Out, Ocean City, MD, Is Open For Business

Posted on October 31, 2012

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The sun came out today, Wednesday, in Ocean City, Maryland. We are truly blessed.

Ocean City is back in business. Hurricane Sandy is gone. Baltimore Avenue is clear and dry and all lanes open to traffic. Philadelphia Avenue and the Coastal Highway are clear and dry (except for a few remaining puddles), and open to traffic from one end of Ocean City to the other. The entire 10 miles! Both bridges are open with traffic flowing smoothly in both directions.

Sometimes rumors and misinformation get started during natural disasters and in the aftermath. I talked to a friend, a condo owner who is out of town right now, on the phone today. She had heard that she should not come back to Ocean City for a week! She had heard a rumor that Coastal Highway was closed. She feared that the area around her condo was in bad condition. I volunteered to drive up the beach and check on her condo, and I did.

It’s easy to see how misinformation can develop. People see pictures on TV of New Jersey beaches, which were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and perhaps assume that Ocean City, MD, must be the same. People hear exaggerated reports about  orange-and-white traffic barrels along part of Coastal Highway, and may assume the highway is closed. These rumors are wrong.

I drove the length of the island today, and nearly everything is back to normal for this time of year. You’ll see a lot of orange traffic barrels along a significant stretch of Coastal Highway, from the Convention Center to about 52nd St. The barrels have nothing to do with the hurricane. Scheduled off-season work installing a water main down the center of Coastal Highway has been ongoing for weeks. We take advantage of the offseason to do these major infrastructure upgrades. It’s normal. It wasn’t caused by the hurricane. The highway is open in both directions. Please drive carefully for the safety of the workers.

I found my friend’s condo in the north end of town, on the bay side. It looks like there may have been a little water, probably backed-up rainwater,  in her street, which is a bit dirty with a very thin film of sand. A little mud and a lot of leaves along the curbs. (It’s fall. Leaves fall off the trees. It happens whether there’s a hurricane or not.) The street is clear and totally passable. Whatever water there was must not have been high enough to overflow the curbs. The sidewalks on all sides are clean and dry. Things get exaggerated in the telling and retelling.

The neighborhood was nearly deserted and very quiet this afternoon. Typical in the offseason. I saw no visible damage on the exterior walls or roofs anywhere in her neighborhood. (A few roof shingles were on the ground. They blew off a roof somewhere, maybe far away. All the roof shingles I could see on the houses looked in perfect condition.)

I called my friend back and reassured her about her condo and her neighborhood. I told her she can come to Ocean City tonight if she wants. Everything is OK.

I should point out that in major storms, buildings can sustain water damage that may not be apparent from outside. Most commonly, wind-driven water is blown in through air-conditioning vents or under doors. You may discover leaks you didn’t know you had around windows, or the roof may leak. That’s about it. It doesn’t hurt to check your  condo.

We all need to do whatever we can to help the Red Cross help the people in New Jersey and New York. There but for the grace of God . . .

Numerous people have been out and about yesterday and today, strolling around and taking pictures. I expect we’ll have an unusual number of visitors in town this weekend. People get cabin fever after a big storm, and many always want to visit Ocean City to see the aftermath of the storm. What little there is to see. Plenty of hotels and restaurants are closed for the season, but plenty more are open year-round and will be open this weekend.

Come on down if you want. But it’s too cold for swimming.

— John Hayden

Photos I took Tuesday covering beach cleanup can be viewed at Work in Progress. More photos to come on both blogs in days ahead.

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Posted in: Life, Maryland, News