Keiffer Mitchell Sr. and his wife, Nannette sat in their kitchen Sunday morning, waiting for Baltimore City to remove a tree that crashed into their house at the height of Hurricane Irene, blocking the front door of their stately house in the 4300 block of St. Paul Street and heavily damaging a balcony.
The Mitchells, parents of State Del. Keiffer Mitchell Jr., a former city councilman, have lived there for 37 years without incident, but were fatalistic about the oak tree that came down shortly after 2 a.m.
"We've seen trees fall all around us in previous years. Our time was coming," said Keiffer Mitchell, 69, a well-known doctor, who was treasurer of his son's campaign.
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"Nature took over," he said.
The oak was there since they moved in, "and long before that," said Nannette Mitchell, 64.
"I can't believe I didn't hear that last night," said Nicole Lubin, whose house next door was unharmed. She and her husband, Jeff, were more concerned about their house on the Chesapeake Bay in White Stone, Va., an area traditionally prone to flooding. But no flooding happened, they said.
Guilford was hit hard by Hurricane Irene, with one tree blocking North Charles Street at the Highfield House apartment building and another across Greenway Sunday morning. A giant tree also came down in front of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Homeland.
Elsewhere in north Baltimore, social worker Pamela Kendall watched as a city crew removed a tree that crushed her 2005 Toyota Highlander, which was parked at Roland Avenue and University Parkway, next to the Roland Water Tower.
"It could always be worse," said Kendall, 40, who lives in the Chadford Apartments nearby. "It's just a vehicle."
Keswick Road at University Parkway was barricaded after a tree fell across Keswick. Almost hidden was another large tree that fell in the yard of attorney Bill Sweet, 59, at 700 West University.
"We're all safe," Sweet said. "We lost a tree but there's not much damage to the house, and no flooding. We kept our power."
Overall, he said, "there's no reason to complain."
No flooding was seen in north Baltimore overnight, a Baltimore City fire department spokesman said early Sunday morning.
"I don't believe there was any flooding," said Kevin Cartwright, the spokesman. He said emergency management personnel checked throughout the wee hours of the morning, and that even on traditionally flood-prone streets such as Union Avenue and Clipper Mill Road in the Hampden-Woodberry area, no high water was seen.
Although as much rain fell as has in previous hurricanes and tropical storms in the region, the rain from Irene was intermittent and never heavy for long periods of time, which may have spared flood-prone areas such as Hampden and Mount Washington, Cartwright said.
"We were fortunate in that respect," he said. "I would say that we dodged a bullet."
At Falls Road and the Kelly Avenue bridge in Mount Washington, area residents congregated to watch the rushing water below. It rose as high as the metal beam under the bridge, one resident said. The intersection was closed off for much of the morning in case the water rose again.
"No flooding," said Bruce Fried, watching with his family.
"But lots of power out," said Jordan Levine.
Traffic lights were out along Falls Road at the Cold Spring Lane and Northern Parkway intersections.
At Redeemer, many parishioners had no power at home.
"For anyone whose electricity went out this morning, we have coffee," said the Rev. M. Cristina Paglinauan, associate rector, after a service in the chapel with an audience of about 75 people.
"That's not bad considering," said Rev. Paul Tunkle, the head rector. And he said that although the tree fell in the yard, the roof, which is being repaired, never leaked during the storm.
"There's divine intervention for you," Tunkle said.