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The Hurricane of 1933: Ocean City, Maryland

Could you imagine Ocean City without the famous Ocean City Inlet? Back in the 1930’s, it was a reality until…

It was August of 1933 and a small tropical storm out in the Atlantic had caught the eye of everyone on the mid Atlantic coast including Ocean City, Maryland. The 50 mph winds were tolerable and non threatening at the time. Slowly as the days went on, the incredible storm picked up speed and had hurled itself into hurricane status territory. 

1933 Flooding

August 18th, 1930

Now a hurricane, the storm began its wrath along the eastern seaboard. However as a pre- show, insistent rain ravished the bays and canals of Ocean City for four days straight. The bay swelled with rain as the incredible storm pummeled 10 inches of rain each day on the coast.

1933 Storm
Storm Damage 1933
The flooding aftermath

August 22, 1933

Without the intricate technology that we now have, all that residents knew was that a storm was about to hit, but had no idea the impact it was about to have. What was called the storm of 1933, since at that time, storms had not yet been named, opened its gates of fury along the Ocean City’s coast. For hours, Ocean City was beaten by threatening winds and immense flooding. Even though this wasn’t the worst storm that had ever dismantled parts of the beach town, it was definitely one of the most impactful ones. 

1933 Boardwalk Damage
1933 Storm Damage
1933 Storm Damage

August 23, 1933- The Aftermath

The surging tides from four days of rain merged with the surge of water being pushed up from the storm. The strip of land connecting Ocean City to Assateague Island was broken from the push of bay waters and overflowing tides. The bay waters broke through causing a 50 foot wide, 8 foot deep inlet, which we now call the Ocean City Inlet. Train tracks that connected both areas were barreled over and eliminated by the storm as well. 

1933 Storm Flooding
Gentleman helps lady through flooded water 1933

At the time, Mayor William McCabe estimated $500,000 worth of damage to the tiny town- an extremely large amount of money in the 1930’s. Ocean City’s boardwalk had to be rebuilt along with fortifying the new inlet that now connected the vast ocean to the back bays. This new route for fishermen became extremely popular and sky rocketed Ocean City’s fishing industry.

It’s hard to imagine Ocean City without its fishing and infamous inlet. At one point, it was Ocean City’s reality. But mother nature had other plans.

Thank you to The Ocean City Life Saving Station for the photos.

Katie Ruskey
Katie Ruskeyhttp://kruskeyauthor.com
Katie Ruskey is a local author, splitting her time between Baltimore and Ocean City. Her debut fiction novel, Marlin Week, was released in August 2022 based on three captains that fish in the infamous White Marlin Open. Her first children's book, The A B Seas of Ocean City, Maryland takes young readers on a tour of OC. For more information on how to purchase her books, visit her website www.kruskeyauthor.com or follow her on IG/FB at Katherine Ruskey Author.

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