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Arthur's impact on holiday travel in Maryland limited

The wet threat of Hurricane Arthur may have forced changes to many local Fourth of July celebrations, but its impact on travel in Maryland during the long holiday weekend was limited, transportation and vacation resort officials said Monday.

Ocean City, the state's most popular beachside resort, saw about a 3 percent decline in its holiday weekend population, to 249,431, compared to 256,950 last year, according to Jessica Waters, a town spokeswoman. Those figures are from Demoflush data, which is based on the amount of wastewater used in the town.

The town was able to shift its fireworks display from Friday, July 4, to the next day, Waters said.

"We had a wonderful weekend. It was really disappointing to some people that we had to reschedule the fireworks on Friday, but overall Arthur really had a limited effect," she said. "There were tons of people in town. The fireworks on Saturday went off fantastically. All in all it was a beautiful weekend."

The storm, which entered southern states with more power, swept through much of Maryland overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, bringing wind and rain. However, after it passed through, the weather was great, Waters said.

Restaurants and shops throughout the town were jammed with visitors on Saturday and Sunday.

Traffic at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was impacted, but not diminished, said Tamory Winfield, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Overall holiday travel through the bridge's tolls was slightly up compared to last year — preliminarily to the tune of about 5 percent — though final numbers weren't available Monday, he said.

The difference was that more people traveled on Thursday and on Saturday, and fewer drivers than were expected traveled on Friday, he said.

Christine Delise, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, which predicted about 858,400 Marylanders would travel for the holiday weekend, also said the storm's impact appeared minimal — though revised travel estimates were not immediately available.

"We believe the storm did not deter holiday travel for Marylanders, as the storm departed our region by Friday morning and the weather for the balance of the weekend was beautiful," she said. "We were fortunate that the whole weekend wasn't a wash out. If it had been a washout, we would have seen more of an impact."

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

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