Marylanders spent Friday straining to recover from Hurricane Isabel, which flooded Baltimore's waterfront, drove hundreds into shelters and knocked out power for more than 1 million residents even as surging waters continued to threaten the western part of the state.
Record flooding in Baltimore's historic
Fells Point and popular Inner Harbor had residents canoeing through
city streets and wading to work in shorts. Downtown Annapolis and
eastern Baltimore County, among other areas, also were left under
several feet of water Friday morning.
O'Malley said Friday.
Hours earlier, he was
monitoring the flooding. "The water is a beautiful thing, an asset. But
sometimes, it turns on you."
Repair crews worked overtime
Friday to restore electricity to the more than 1.27 million
households that lost power in the state -- the worst outage Maryland has ever seen,
officials from the state's two major utilities said.
The damage was particularly striking considering many officials and forecasters said Isabel had spared Maryland its worst
as it lost strength Thursday and passed to the north and west.
Still, the storm was believed to have claimed a second
victim in Maryland Friday after Baltimore County police found the
body of a white male floating in flood water covering the 8200
block of Peach Orchard Road in Turner Station. The man, believed to
be in his 40s, had not been identified. There was no sign of foul
play, said Bill Toohey, a police spokesman. A cause of death has not
yet been determined.
A motorist was killed during
the storm Thursday when his vehicle crashed into a telephone pole
in Anne Arundel County.
Late Friday afternoon,
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced that the Bush administration
had approved his request for federal disaster relief for the state.
Estimates of the storm's damage were still being tallied, but Ehrlich
said that state overtime costs had exceeded $20 million and that damage to state roads
had been put at $3.2 million.
Ehrlich and Lt. Gov.
Michael S. Steele will be crisscrossing the state this weekend to
assess damage. "It's been a tough day in Maryland, and it'll be a
tough day tomorrow," Ehrlich said at a midday stop in Middle River,
in hard-hit eastern Baltimore County. "But it could've been much
That was the overwhelming sentiment of many
across the state, where after a week's worth of dire warnings, many communities
were left feeling that things could have been uglier.
dumped up to 9 inches of rain in parts of Virginia, but rainfall in
most of Central Maryland was not much more than 3 inches. And
although gusts of about 60 mph were recorded at some spots, the storm
had lost much of its hurricane force by the time it swept through
Thursday night and Friday morning.
was the rainfall in many areas that many residents were left
slightly puzzled at the severe flooding that occurred. The
explanation, meteorologists said Friday, lies in two factors: the storm's sustained winds and its timing.
It was the bad luck of
areas such as the Baltimore and Annapolis waterfronts that the
storm surges caused by Isabel's winds and rains came right around high
tide, meteorologists said. And although the winds may not have been
hurricane- strength, they were sustained enough for 12 hours to keep
pushing water up the Chesapeake Bay and its feeders, even as
the tides started to recede, they said.
caused by wind stress on the water, roiling water up the bay, helping
to create these surges," said Todd Miner, a meteorologist with the
Penn State Weather Communications Group. "When you have wind going
all in one direction, it's going to pile the water up."
That is what residents and business owners discovered Friday morning
when they woke to find much of Fells Point and the Inner Harbor under
Harbor rose 7 feet above normal tides Friday morning, eclipsing the
record set by the
great hurricane of August 1933.
seemed as though the harbor would escape relatively unscathed.
But by high tide, just before 2 a.m., water was surging past the
seawalls and into Fells Point and downtown streets, businesses,
basements and hotel rooms.
A rescue squad arrived
on Fells Street in response to a report of people stranded at the
Henderson's Wharf marina. Eight rescuers set off toward the
marina, banging poles on the flooded streets to make sure manhole
covers were in place. As it turned out, the stranded people didn't
want to be rescued: they stayed out to watch their boats.
By daybreak, major roads, including Pratt and Light
streets, were submerged under as much as 5 feet of water and were
closed most of the day.
From Saturday's Sun