By the early 1980’s, the beach in Ocean City was in bad shape. The dunes had been leveled for oceanfront development and storms had washed away the beach until it was practically non-existent. By the summer of 1985, a disaster was just waiting to happen.
The disaster would be known to history as Hurricane Gloria and on Sept. 27 she struck Ocean City. The town was fortunate that the storm arrived on low tide but the damage was still widespread. Waves of over 15 feet destroyed the Boardwalk and tore stairs from condos and hotels on the oceanfront. Piers on the bayside were lost and the storm surge pushed sand and debris as far as Philadelphia Avenue.
Fortunately, there were no deaths or serious injuries (Mayor Fish Powell had ordered the town evacuated in advance) but Gloria left a positive legacy. The storm became the catalyst for the Beach Replenishment Project, which created the wide beaches we have today.
The photo features a vehicle washed into a lagoon on Sinepuxent Avenue between 135th and 136th streets next to the Sundowner Trailer Park as a result of Gloria.
File photo from The Dispatch