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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. Ocean City businesses and homeowners are preparing for its wrath.
With Hurricane Sandy’s arrival approaching, the Town of Ocean City is implanting Phase II of the Emergency Evacuation Plan. Due to the severe flooding which is expected during the storm, a mandatory evacuation of all residents in the downtown area (south of 17th Street) has been issued and is effective immediately. All residents in these areas must evacuate before 8 p.m. Sunday. In addition, a voluntary evacuation order is in place for residents and occupants of known low lying areas.
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan has declared a local State of Emergency, issuing an order to close the beach to all persons until further notices. In addition, the inlet lot will be closed beginning at 5 p.m. and will not reopen for the duration of the storm, which is expected to last two to three days.
Worcester County is expected to open shelters beginning at 1 p.m. The Town of Ocean City will utilize the municipal transportation system for relocation of people with special needs and will provide a pick-up location at the Convention Center to relocate people to the designated shelters beginning at 1 p.m.
During the storm, the Town of Ocean City will be posting storm related information on various websites, social media outlets, through the GovDelivery system and the television access channel. Citizens are asked to tune into Ocean City’s Government Access Channel (4 & 15) for further detailed information or advisories. To subscribe to GovDelivery, visit the “City Wide Alerts” tab on the Town of Ocean City’s website at http://oceancitymd.gov.
Mike Hellgren has more on the steps they’re taking.
Ocean City residents are watching the forecast closely and are not taking anything for granted.
A powerful massive storm like no other could be coming to Maryland’s coastline.
“It’s chasing me out of here,” said one resident. “That’s about as concerned as I am right now. I want to be a step ahead of it.”
Emergency management officials in Ocean City have tracked Hurricane Sandy for days. They will get extra tools for preparation and recovery now that the governor has declared a state of emergency.
“It’s common sense. Sustain yourselves for three days. Have your canned goods on hand. You know, chances are, you may lose power. You have to be able to deal with that. Make sure you have your medications. Have your car filled up with gas. You know, common sense,” Joe Theobald, the head of emergency operations in Ocean City, said.
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It was beautiful on Saturday in Ocean City, but even if Sandy is not a direct hit, you can expect strong winds and waves coming off the Atlantic battering the coastline.
“I can’t imagine what it would do in this area. I see that they’re already starting to board some places up,” one resident said.
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The last hurricane to hit Ocean City was Irene in 2011. It moved quickly and did minimal damage. Sandy could stick around longer and do more damage.
Related Story: Md. Prepares As O’Malley Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Hurricane Sandy
“We’re going to experience some flooding in the downtown, low-lying areas. Very typical, something we’ve been seeing in the Nor’easter. We’re going to experience some beach erosion. Just depends on how long the storm is off our coast,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said.
Experts estimate this storm could cause $1 billion in damage.
A full moon will bring higher tides and more flooding. Sustained high winds could knock out power for days.
Photo Gallery: Tracking Hurricane Sandy