Hurricane Irene Forces First Ocean City Evacuation Since 1985 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Hurricane Irene Forces First Ocean City Evacuation Since 1985

Play associated audio
Weather forecasters believe Hurricane Irene could rival 1985’s Hurricane Gloria, which decimated the Ocean City boardwalk and was the last time the resort was forced to order a full scale evacuation.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridamemory/3675533482/
Weather forecasters believe Hurricane Irene could rival 1985’s Hurricane Gloria, which decimated the Ocean City boardwalk and was the last time the resort was forced to order a full scale evacuation.

Ocean City, Md. is evacuating for the first time in 26 years as the region braces for the potential wrath of Hurricane Irene.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan is usually calm cool and collected, attributes expected from the mayor of a beach town. But he was noticeably on edge as he read the proclamation declaring a state of emergency, and calling for the evacuation of residents and visitors by 5 p.m. Friday evening.

Meehan was a first year city councilman back in 1985 the last time the town was evacuated as Hurricane Gloria approached. The storm ravaged the Ocean City boardwalk. Meehan says town officials are calling Irene, "Gloria on steroids."

"We have a lot of storms that come up the coast bump off of Carolina or veer off to the east," says Meehan, "but this one is not doing that. These winds exceed tropical storm winds, it's a category 3 hurricane right now. This is a serious storm."

Police will go door to door in an attempt to get everyone off the island. Officials have also evacuated more than 4,000 foreign students working in Ocean City for the summer by busing them to Salisbury, Md., where they will be picked up by state officials and taken to the Baltimore convention center.

Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald says the evacuation plan, or Phase 3 as he calls it, went into full effect last night at midnight as police officers blocked all access into Ocean City. He hopes residents and tourists heed the warnings and get out of town as quickly as possible.

Because when Irene hits ocean city late Saturday afternoon, he says, all bets are off.

"Ocean City hasn't been impacted by such a storm in probably ever, other than 1933 when the inlet was formed," said Theobald, "so there's going to be a lot of complacency with our residents, but they need to heed our warning. With this one, you gotta run from the water."

And with forecasts of 10 inches of rain, wind gusts of 120 miles per hour and storm surges of almost 10 feet, Theobald says rather than just be a town by the water, Ocean City very well could be a town underwater by Sunday afternoon.

NPR

Kids' Films And Stories Share A Dark Theme: Dead Mothers

Why do so many animated movies star motherless kids? Sarah Boxer, a graphic novelist, cartoon-lover and mother, talks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about the phenomenon and the message it sends to children.
NPR

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
NPR

What Will Become Of Obama's Request For Immigration Relief Funds?

NPR's Arun Rath talks to political correspondent Mara Liasson about the chances of a political agreement over how to handle the migration of thousands of Central American children.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.