Ocean City Vulnerable With Major Hurricane
Every spring a number of Ocean City elected officials and employees go to New Orleans to participate in the National Hurricane Conference. The primary goal of the Conference is to improve hurricane preparedness, response, recove1y and mitigation in order to save lives and lower property damage. Now I know that the Ocean City government has volumes planning for a hurricane similar to Michael if Ocean City is hit. The easy part of the plan would be the hurricane preparation procedures such as ordering resident to leave Ocean City. The difficult part is addressing the damage, especially the human toll and property damage, once the hurricane such as Michael passes over Ocean City.
The life-threatening quality of a hurricane similar to Michael could cause major devastation in Ocean City. Now that the extent of Hurricane Michael’s damages can be clearly seen in the photographs of Mexico Beach (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13UoLG4assM), Ocean City residents should be very concerned because the building construction and infrastructure in Ocean City are very similar to Mexico Beach. Many of the properties in Mexico Beach that were destroyed were constructed very similar to the frame construction of those in Ocean City. Because of their wood frame construction, many of the downtown building and homes in little Salisbury, Montego Bay, Caine Keys II and Caine Woods could suffer possible total destruction. In addition to many of the frame buildings that may be destroyed, buildings that look like they a construction with concrete could also suffer significant damage because the exterior is a coat of stucco place on top of nonconcrete material.
But winds similar to Michael will not be the hurricane’s most and only life-threatening quality. The Ocean City coastline may be temporarily swallowed by the ocean, as a storm surge swamps the shore. Nine feet of storm surge, the minimum that was forecasted for Michael, is enough to turn cars into floating battering rams and cover one-story buildings. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edAoI1dsXu4 for flooding). Such a storm
surge would leave Coastal Highway in a flood of debris blocking many drain areas. But this may not matter because the storm would have knocked out electricity to Ocean City pumping stations used to pump water to homes and remove sewage that are generated in homes. Moreover, any home not subject to damage could probably have to deal with no running water or sewage backing into their residents.
The cleanup of debris would be massive requiring the use of heavy equipment that Ocean City currently may not have. In addition, the flooding of the streets could make vehicle movement very difficult. This flooding could be a major impediment to the operations of the city efforts to clean up after the hurricane. The reason for this is the clean-up activities would probably be carried out at the public safety building between 65th and 66th streets. While the public safety building may be operational, any flooding of 65th and 66th streets could essentially cut off accesses to and exit from the building. Moreover, if any backup generators at the public safety building were not adequately raised off the ground, public safety building operations may be limited due to flooding conditions.
Then there is the human toll. Thousands of residents, including many seniors, would no longer have a home because the hurricane destroyed their house. They will spend weeks trying to suspend the reality of the situation as they attempt to put their life back together again and deal with insurance adjusters to file their loss claims.
Yes, this letter addresses a few of the dire consequences resulting from a hurricane that hits Ocean City that is
similar to Michael. If you think the damages cited in this letter are excessive, ask one of our elected officials for their informed opinion of the extent of estimated damages caused by a hurricane similar to Michael.
Unfortunately, there are very few measures we can take now to mitigate the damage from a major hurricane like Michael or prepare for the shock of seeing a compost of debris that used to be our home.
Joseph H. Potter
Health Insurance Enrollment Deadline Near
As Program Coordinator for the Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program (LSHIAP), I see people’s lives and quality of life improve after receiving health insurance through LSHIAP every open enrollment period.
For many people, it might be the first time they’ve ever had health insurance, or the first time they’ve had coverage for themselves and their family. Health insurance provides peace of mind and protection in the event of medical emergencies or long-term costs. I am reaching out to make certain everyone who needs health insurance knows open enrollment for 2019 health plans is underway for Lower Shore residents.
Enrolling in a quality health plan that works within your budget is easier than you think. Last year, nine out of 10 Marylanders who enrolled through Maryland Health Connection, the state’s official marketplace, got financial help to pay for their plan. This year, health insurance rates in Maryland have dropped an average of 13-percent.
If you would like to enroll in health coverage for 2019, you must do so before the December 15 deadline. Our team of certified Navigators will work one-on-one with you to assist with navigation through the enrollment process, and to ensure that you are able to select health coverage that best fits you and your family’s needs.
I encourage everyone to explore their options for health and dental insurance at MarylandHealthConnection.gov, where you can browse plans, compare coverage and costs, and enroll into coverage. If you would like to receive in-person assistance with your Maryland Health Connection application by meeting with a Certified Navigator in Somerset, Wicomico or Worcester counties, please call the Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program at 1-855-445-5540 to set-up an appointment before Dec. 15.
(The writer is the program coordinator for the Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program through the Worcester County Health Department.)
Lovely Event Together
We would like to thank you for the wonderful Dec, 1, 2018 breakfast event you organized in order for us to spend such joyful moments with so many good little children.
All of the staff and volunteers from Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks were such hard-working elves that we wish we could take you home with us to the North Pole.
And we appreciate how you went out of your way to assist us with gifts for one and all. The cooking elves from the Kiwanis Club of Ocean Pines-Ocean City surely knew how to prepare a great meal for the children and their families.
Again, thank you for your efforts to bring the community and The Clauses together to celebrate the Christmas season. Spending quality time with all of you is the reason we love this season. You are all at the top of Santa’s Good List.
Santa and Mrs. Claus
(Special friends of Al Kastner and Carol Ludwig)
Good Samaritans Thanked
Thank you to the three people that came to our aid when I fell in the Ocean Pines Food Lion parking lot on Dec. 5. I was so embarrassed that my manners seemed to escape me. I was very touched by your kindness.