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.
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.
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.
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.
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.