Residents say they feel blessed to have missed brunt of storm
Update, 5:00 p.m.: The winds have died down, but it's still cold and wet on the Eastern Shore as officials along the Delmarva peninsula assess the damage and determine when its safe for residents and others that have evacuated to return after what many residents are calling the worst storm to ever hit the region in their lifetimes.
Bob Shertier is from Fairfax, Va., but when he arrived at his home in coastal Delaware, he found a mess.
"It's already receded, so it's not as bad," says Shertier. "The carpets are just soaked, so we are gonna rip out the carpets and take care of what we have to take care of."
Further down the road, there are businesses already open again, like the High Stakes Bar & Grill on Route 54 in Fenwick Island, Del. There are flooded neighborhoods all around the bar, but the place was packed this afternoon.
At the bar, Dave Ball says that even though his property was spared by the storms, he knows Sandy was a gamechanger for many folks here on the coast.
"I know we were totally 100 percent blessed," says Bell. "That we were just a little bit south of that, maybe 20 or 30 miles, so we aren't in a situation where we are in a total catastrophe."
That's a feeling all over the Delmarva Peninsula. There is damage, but there's a feeling of utter relief that Hurricane Sandy didn't decimate the coast like residents now realize she could have.
Original Story: In Ocean City, the famous Wicomico Fishing Pier was destroyed, and large portions of the city's dunes were washed away.
They have been able to open Coastal Highway and roads up to 17th St. The Route 90 bridge reopened overnight, as did the Chincoteague Causeway — which is the only way on and off the Virginia island south of Ocean City. This morning, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is open in both directions, as is the 1-95 Millard Tydings Bridge.
Water is receding quite rapidly in some areas, but there was still about a foot of water in downtown areas, including on North Division street. But water levels could swell again during today's high tides, and officials are urging people to sit tight before returning to their homes.
In Salisbury, Md., approximately 600 students from the state university there were holed up in the university's gymnasium while other residents retreated to shelters. Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton plans to lift the state of emergency in the city later today, he said this morning. Crews are currently assessing the flood damage
Up until approximately 9 a.m. today, Delaware state police were still issuing tickets to people on the roadways due to an order from the governor's office. Just before 9 a.m., Gov. Jack Markell eased the driving restrictions in the state to Level 1, which means drivers are allowed on the roads but encouraged to use extreme caution and common sense.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will preside over a mass wedding for same-sex couples during the city's Pride Festival at Druid Hill Park next month.