With Hurricane Sandy set to bring high wind and rain to the mid-Atlantic, officials advise waterfront residents and boat owners in eastern Baltimore County to take precautions.
According to current National Weather Service projections, Hurricane Sandy, now working its way up from the Bahamas, may "hook" up the east coast, with the eye making landfall midday Tuesday north of Maryland. The state would be due for a drenching starting, particularly if the storm collides with a cold front from the north to form what forecasters are calling a Halloween "Frankenstorm." CBS News reports the storm could cause $1 billion in damage in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
"I had a couple people call me earlier this morning after they watched the morning news asking to get their boats out," said Raymond J. Porter, president of the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County and owner of Porter's Seneca Marina.
Foot's Forecast projects that parts of Maryland could see six to 12 inches of rain, and winds could gust up to 45 mph and that is plenty reason for concern on the waterfront.
"I saw the news this morning and I thought the indication was more than likely it would veer away from Maryland," said Bob Bendler, president of the Essex-Middle River Civic Council. "But if its coming here I sure as heck hope it's nothing like [Tropical Storm] Isabel."
In 2003, that storm infamously left much of the Bowleys Quarters area flooded.
"A lot of people need to be reminded that they need to get their boats out or secured," said Bendler, a Wilson Point resident, recalling one instance where "the boat lift wasn't high enough so consequently, the storm surge raised the boat off the lift and broke it loose.
"I had a boat from my neighbor sitting on my front yard."
The flood plain's layout saved Bendler's home from major damage, but many of his neighbors weren't so lucky.
What Wilson Point and other communities have to deal with with this storm's heavy rainfall depends in part on where the storm makes landfall, where the wind is blowing and a little bit of luck.
"A lot depends on when the storm surge comes and how that ties into the tide," he said. "We had a worst case scenary with Isabel because the storm surge came at the high tide."
A westerly turn for the storm could prove catostrophic, as the counterclockwise rotation would pull water into the Bay, creating destructive storm surges for the waterfront communities.
Power outages are also likely in the storm. Baltimore Gas and Electric announced Thursday plans to mobilze nearly 1,300 workers to respond to storm-related outages.
Stay with Patch for the latest storm coverage as news breaks.
Boater tips from Raymond Porter:
- "If your boat's in the water, the best place for it to be would be a floating pier," he said. "Other than that if it's on a fixed pier, try to get it to a hurricane hole, somewhere where it's going to be out of the wind."
- Check your knots. "Double up the lines and make sure the pumps work and everything's tied off and secured," Porter said.
- Get loose gear off your deck, and consider removing canvasses that could tear in a storm.
- Ironically, taking your boat out might put you in more trouble. "The ones that took the brunt of Isabel were actually pulled out before the storm," Porter said. If you do take your boat out, take it to a marina on higher ground.
- Check with your insurance company. They may cover the expenses of a storm-related haul-out, Porter said.
Associate Regional Editor Sean Welsh contributed to this report.