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Reporting Mike Hellgren
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OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ)– Hurricane Sandy is powering its way to the Mid-Atlantic region, and towns along Maryland’s shore ready for the worst.
Mike Hellgren has more on how Ocean City is getting ready for the brunt of Hurricane Sandy.
This is a storm that is changing by the moment. There is concern along the shores of Ocean City, but not panic. Officials admit there’s a plan in place but this will be a test of their emergency preparedness.
Related Story: Md. Prepares As O’Malley Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Hurricane Sandy
The calm Atlantic waters could be raging as wind and heavy rain are set to batter Maryland’s coastline from the massive and powerful Hurricane Sandy.
In Ocean City, the head of emergency management said he’s ready.
“What’s uncommon is to see the tail end of the hurricane season or the hurricane coming up the East Coast merging with a winter storm coming into place, calling it the mega storm we may have never seen before,” Joe Theobald said. “So this is going to test everybody’s capabilities.”
Local leaders have been in touch with state officials even before the governor declared a statewide emergency that will allow them extra resources.
“We’re not looking for any real impact from this storm until sometime late Sunday,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said. “We’ll have a better feeling of exactly what that will be as time moves forward.
“This is the time for the public to practice what we preach,” Theobald said. “People have to have a plan in place to sustain themselves for three days.”
“We don’t anticipate [evacuations] to be the case in this particular scenario,” Meehan said. “We’re not exactly sure what the effects are going to be yet; we’re monitoring it very closely.”
Ocean City’s premier attraction is the beach and they have fences up along the coastline. There is great concern here about the potential for beach erosion from this storm.
There could also be flooding downtown and business owners are taking action.
“We watch it by the hour and pretty much change planning based on six-hour, 12-hour reports,” Joe Kro-Art, owner of Ocean Gallery, said. “We dodged a bullet last year because there was a really bad storm…but it missed us. This year, it looks like we’re going to get some of it.”
Related Story: East Coast Prepares For “The Perfect Storm”
A full moon will bring higher tides and more flooding. Sustained high winds could knock out power for days.
“I think it’s going to be the real deal,” an Ocean City resident said.
“Mother Nature always wins. I mean, she ALWAYS wins,” a resident said.
“I think it’s going to be pretty bad. I’m worried about traffic heading home. So, we’ll see,” a visitor to Ocean City said.
The last hurricane to hit Ocean City was Irene in 2011, which caused minimal damage. They’re hoping that the coming Frankenstorm is not the perfect storm but are pared in case of a direct hit.
Photo Gallery: Tracking Hurricane Sandy
There could be damages in excess of one billion dollars.