Friday, Nov 20–County Fared Well After Weekend Storm Evaluation

SNOW HILL – Worcester County got off lightly in last week’s major storm that flooded roads, knocked over trees and took out power.

“Even though it doesn’t look like it, Worcester fared again very well. Most of this stuff is landscaping due to flooding and the trees coming down,” said Emergency Services Director Teresa Owens before the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday.

Reports on the amount of rain received varied across the county. Snow Hill reported four inches of rain as of Thursday night but some rain gauges might not have reflected the true amount, Owens said, because there were reports of rain being blown out of the gauges by the strong winds accompanying the downpour.

Ocean Pines reported six to seven inches of rain. The Worcester County landfill reported 11 inches of rain from the storm. As of Tuesday, the landfill was still drying out, said Public Works Director John Tustin.

Many storm problems appear to have occurred Thursday night.

“The county road crew was out all night long,” Owens said.

When a call came in of a tree in the road, Sheriff’s deputies would check the reported site and inform the crews whether the road needed to be cleared. At least 15 trees came down, Owens said, closing some roads in the county.

Other roads were inundated with water to the point they had to be barricaded off.

“During the night of the storm, we had eight roads totally closed,” Tustin said

In West Ocean City, Cape Isle of Wight also saw a lot of flooding, Tustin said, but no roads were closed.

“Our guys were out in that all night,” said Tustin. “They pulled their bootstraps up and worked through the weather.”

Some road repairs are necessary in the wake of the storm.

“We’re in clean up mode now,” said Tustin.

Commissioner Virgil Shockley reported high water at the bridge at Porter’s Crossing, recalling the water was at the bottom of a sign attached to an eight-foot pole.

Two big trees also came down on Keyser Point Road and a large tree came down across power lines near Glen Riddle, causing a six-hour power outage.

Ocean Pines saw a lot of water problems, Tustin reported, with the tidal influence on the canals backing water up onto land.

“It’s very reassuring for people to know there’s a presence of Worcester County and Ocean Pines public works,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.

Owens reported that one person had to be rescued by the Snow Hill Fire Department after she drove around the barricades and signs declaring Nassawango Road closed. Emergency personnel found her stranded on top of her car in the middle of floodwaters.

The county damage assessment team, headed by Kelly Henry, had eight teams of two out checking the aftermath.

“We focused our efforts right along the coast,” Henry said.

One major effect the damage assessment teams recorded showed floodwaters penetrating structures.

“That’s what we were finding, it was at least getting in the crawlspaces of houses,” said Henry.

Along North Shore Rd., a private pier was totally destroyed by the storm. Bay water also breached the bulkhead in that area.

Ponding occurred in places in Ocean Pines with normally adequate stormwater drainage, designed to empty into canals. Excess water backed up onto land and roads because the ditches are the same elevation as the canals, according to Henry. The extra water just had nowhere to go, it was reported.