Men rescued from boat on Assateague; some West Ocean City houses flooded
NANCY POWELL ¦ Staff Writer
Flooding was significant in Snow Hill’s Byrd Park during the height of the storm last week, although the county sustained limited damage.OCEAN CITY TODAY/CHRISTINE BROWN(Nov. 9, 2012) Although no lives were lost in Worcester County during Hurricane Sandy, two men did put their lives at risk last Sunday by going out in a boat from West Ocean City to experience the storm.
“They did wash ashore,” Emergency Management Services Director Teresa Owens told the Worcester County Commissioners on Wednesday.
The men went out in the boat to see storm conditions up close and personal, but they were unable to get back. The boat was swept ashore, with the men aboard, at Assateague Island, Owens said. Law enforcement personnel, alerted to the trouble by friends of the men, took the men back to the entrance of Snug Harbor where they lived.
Some houses in West Ocean City had water inside because of Hurricane Sandy, three homeowners in South Point lost part of their property and water got into a fuel tank in Pocomoke. Some houses on Ayres Creek were also damaged, but overall the county was spared.
Water encroached on some low-lying properties, such as this Snow Hill garage. A few homes in West Ocean City were said to have up to 18 inches of water.OCEAN CITY TODAY/CHRISTINE BROWN“We fared very well with Hurricane Sandy,” Owens said.
Because the storm did little damage in Worcester County, county and municipal officials offered assistance to Somerset County and the hard-hit town of Crisfield last Thursday and Friday.
County maintenance staff took blankets and mats to the Woodrow Wilson Community Center, where Crisfield residents were sheltered, Owens said. The Fire Marshal’s Office provide a trailer with showers for the shelter occupants and members of the Social Services Department helped man the shelter.
Members of the Emergency Services Department helped make arrangements for food preparation and staff from the Department of Development Review and Permitting, two building inspectors and Phyliss Wimbrow, the department’s deputy director, went to Crisfield to assist with assessing the town’s damaged structures. Fred Webster, the county’s assistant director of Emergency Services, assisted the Somerset County Emergency Operations Center in Princess Anne.
Owens also told the commissioners about Worcester County’s preparedness and operational efforts.
The county’s Emergency Operations Center, activated at 8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, was staffed with county, municipal and state personnel throughout the duration of Hurricane Sandy. Later that day, general public shelters opened at Stephen Decatur High School and Snow Hill High School. Pet-friendly shelters opened at Stephen Decatur Middle School, Snow Hill Animal Control and Pocomoke High School.
Approximately 300 people and 46 pets stayed in the shelters, which closed when all the occupants returned home or found other places to stay by 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Owens said several West Ocean City residents had been told that water would be in their homes, but they did not evacuate. When county employees went to some of those homes on Sunday, one foot of water was inside.
Fred Webster, assistant director of Emergency Management, said a house on Riggin Ridge Road in West Ocean City had 16 to 18 inches of water inside. A Humvee was sent to rescue the women and two children inside.
During the storm, the county received support from the Berlin Fire Company, the Ocean Pines Fire Company and the Ocean City Fire Department at Keyser Point Road. The county asked for and was granted a swift water rescue team that was assigned to the Ocean Pines Fire Department. That team was subsequently sent to Crisfield for the water rescue of occupants of Somers Cove Apartments.
Although numerous trees and power lines were downed during the height of the storm, most county infrastructure had little or no significant damage.
“Residents and businesses got a bird’s eye view of what could have happened by seeing damage along the coast,” Owens said. “I feel confident we did everything possible to alert people about the hurricane.”
“It was a job well done,” said Bud Church, president of the Worcester County Commissioners. “Everyone worked ad a team and we were very lucky in the storm.”