Some flood­ing pos­si­ble to­day in O.C.

Week­end winds were not as strong and pre­cip­i­ta­tion not as heavy as ex­pected

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Scott Dance The Associated Press con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. sdance@balt­ twit­

Mod­er­ate flood­ing is fore­cast for to­day in down­town Ocean City as Her­mine, pos­si­bly re­turn­ing to hur­ri­cane strength, churns off­shore. But oth­er­wise, the beach town es­caped the storm un­scathed, of­fi­cials said.

“We were very for­tu­nate,” Mayor Rick Mee­han said. While high tides could rise a cou­ple of feet above nor­mal, “it’s at a level where I think we’ll be fine,” he said.

High tides reached “mi­nor” flood lev­els at the Ocean City in­let Sun­day, at about 4 feet, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice. Tonight’s high tide about 10 p.m. could rise as much as a foot and a half higher than that, the weather ser­vice fore­casts.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gists had pre­vi­ously pre­dicted se­vere flood­ing was pos­si­ble by to­day. Fore­casts had warned of the pos­si­bil­ity of 65 mph gusts and 5 inches of rain. Gov. Larry Ho­gan called in the Mary­land Na­tional Guard on Satur­day as Ocean City faced a trop­i­cal storm warn­ing.

But winds were not as strong and pre­cip­i­ta­tion not as heavy as they ex­pected, with gusts to­ward the north­east peak­ing at 40 mph and only about half an inch of rain, ac­cord­ing to the weather ser­vice.

“The storm it­self is track­ing a lit­tle farther off­shore than it was fore­cast to do,” said Mike Rus­nak, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist in the weather ser­vice’s Wake­field, Va., fore­cast of­fice. “The ef­fects are not as great.”

Her­mine was about 340 miles east of Ocean City by Sun­day evening, far enough that sun­shine broke through the clouds as crews cleared the board­walk of sand. Beaches re­mained closed to swim­ming be­cause of rough surf and strong rip cur­rents.

But the storm could still swing back closer to the Mid-At­lantic shore, ex­pected to move to the north and north­west overnight and through to­day. It is a “some­what un­usual” fore­cast for a storm orig­i­nat­ing in the trop­ics, said John Gre­siak, a se­nior me­te­o­rol­o­gist with Ac­ who noted that Her­mine has tech­ni­cally be­come what is known as a post-trop­i­cal storm.

“We just don’t have any­thing in the at­mos­phere to re­ally push it along for the next cou­ple of days,” Gre­siak said.

The Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter pre­dicted that Her­mine could re­gain hur­ri­cane force to­day as it spins off the Del­marva Penin­sula and New Jer­sey coast. Still, it is ex­pected to stay far enough from shore that it won’t drop any more rain on At­lantic beaches on the La­bor Day hol­i­day.

Trop­i­cal storm-force winds were pos­si­ble in New Jer­sey to­day. Gov. Chris Christie warned that mi­nor to mod­er­ate flood­ing was still likely in coastal ar­eas and said the storm could cause ma­jor prob­lems.

Her­mine caused two deaths, in­flicted wide­spread prop­erty dam­age and closed beaches as far north as New York. The storm left hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple with­out elec­tric­ity from Florida to Vir­ginia.

In Ocean City, Mee­han said busi­nesses re­opened and ac­tiv­ity picked up as the skies cleared Sun­day. He es­ti­mated the crowd in town, typ­i­cally as much as 300,000 strong dur­ing hol­i­day week­ends, was at about 80 per­cent of nor­mal.

The Ocean City Beach Pa­trol will con­tinue to mon­i­tor con­di­tions to de­ter­mine when it’s safe for swim­mers to get back in the wa­ter. With no dam­age or in­juries re­ported from the storm, “we want to keep it that way,” Mee­han said.

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