The resort beach town of Ocean City, Md., is back in business after Hurricane Irene did only minimal damage.
Thousands of residents had been evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irene, which passed within 50 miles of Ocean City on Sunday morning, and caused some minor flooding in low-lying areas. Irene brought sustained winds of 60 mph, a five-foot storm surge and dumped 12 inches of rain on the popular beach town.
Ocean City officials allowed residents and business owners to start returning to the city as early as Sunday morning. With the bridges of Routes 50 and 90 reopened, tourist and beach-lovers are expected to arrive in droves to enjoy the last few days of summer.
We dodged a missile, said Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan on Sunday morning. I think we're all happy to see how we fared.
Meehan defended the decision to evacuate the city prior to the storm, even though it lost tourist dollars over the weekend.
If there were large numbers of people here [during the storm], the police department would have been put in a bad position because they would have been babysitting the people out on the beach and street, he said.
Joe Theobald, Worcester County Emergency Services director, told the local media that he thought the evacuations were a successful exercise that could be used in future storms.
If something like this happens next year, they'll remember this year, he said.
Two of the town's premier landmarks -- the tip of the Inlet Pier and the jetty tower at the Pier’s entrance -- were damaged by Irene. However, Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino told reporters most of the damage wrought by the storm was superficial.”