A handful of residents attended a presentation on hurricane preparedness by the Ocean City Emergency Services Department at Ocean City Hall. Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald says the message this year is the same as it has been: be prepared, and have a plan.
The presentation included slides showing pictures of the flooding in Ocean City from Superstorm Sandy's storm surge, especially on the bay side. Emergency Services officials say Sandy produced the second-highest surge ever in town, at 6.1 feet. The highest was 6.6 feet. Public losses from Sandy in town totaled $1.2 million, including many docks in the bays that were damaged and destroyed. Other slides in the presentation showed flooding from the nor'easter of March 1962, as well as hurricane damage in other parts of the country, such as Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas in 2008. The presentation featured tips for building an emergency kit for being stuck at home during and after a storm, what to do in the event of an evacuation order ahead of a storm, as well as links to local, state and federal websites for more information.
Theobald says people would be surprised by how many Ocean City residents don't have a plan for a hurricane. While he says emergency officials are sensitive to the fact that an evacuation completely shuts down the local economy, that decision is made based strictly on public safety. Officials recommend having flood insurance for your property, even if you don't live in flood-prone areas. Theobald says officials are working to better identify for the public what are flood-prone areas of town, since areas beside for downtown and the south end flooded during Sandy. At one point, Coastal Highway was closed from 62nd Street south, and even Route 90 was impassable.
Hurricane season begins on June 1. The presentation can be found here.
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