Rawlings-Blake lifted parking restrictions inFells Point this morning. Vehicles towed by the city can be picked up by their owners at the city's Edison lot at the Fallsway and High street, near downtown.
Public transportation in Baltimore is lumbering back to life. Local bus service was back in operation at 5 a.m. and the Metro subway is also operational. Trains are running from Johns Hopkins to Rogers Avenue. From there, busses will take passengers between Rogers Avenue and Owings Mills. Crews are working to removed downed trees on the tracks.
Rawlings-Blake asked residents to continue calling 311 for any problems, and that city crews will be heading out to assess damage. Police officers were out in force this morning responding to calls for downed trees and wires. Dozens of calls were coming into police dispatchers for those problems.
"It's going to be a long day of cleanup," a dispatcher told a police officer shortly after 6 a.m.
But it appears that Baltimore City made it through the storm without any significant damage, including flooding. One firefighter could be heard at 6:15 this morning helping an elderly woman with a flooded basement and was told by a dispatcher that the emergency shelters were about to close.
“We only had one person in a shelter and we had three of them open,” the fire dispatcher said.
On the Eastern Shore, emergency crews in Cambridge are busy evacuating 30 patients from Dorchester General Hospital where a spokeswoman said the building sustained water damage. Ambulance crews are taking the patients to Easton Memorial Hospital, about 20 minutes away.
Linda Mastro, a spokeswoman for Shore Health Systems, which runs the hospital, said this morning that the heavy rain and win on the Eastern Shore damaged the roof over the main laboratory and there is water damage in several patients’ rooms, as well as in the operating room and chemotherapy room.
The hospital has a capacity for 45 patients.
Emergency workers and state officials said a chief concern is a possible storm surge that could overwhelm the Lower Eastern Shore. Some recalled the 7-foot storm surge that reached Baltimore during Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003, but forecasters were predicting just one to three feet of surge in the upper Chesapeake Bay.
On Saturday, President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Maryland, enabling the state to tap federal assets to supplement its response efforts. The declaration had been requested Thursday by Gov. Martin O'Malley, said Edward Hopkins a spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.
The president declared similar emergencies Sunday for Delaware and Washington, D.C. On Saturday, Virginia, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts were added to the list. North Carolina received the designation on Thursday.
Damage was reported along the East Coast starting Saturday evening. The state Highway Administration said more than 100 state roads were closed due to trees or debris, and about 50 had traffic signals out as of 12:50 a.m. Many roads were closed due to high water. Power outages were widespread, and thousands of evacuees from Ocean City and other parts of Maryland crowded shelters.
Just before 11 p.m. Saturday, St. Mary's County issued a 911 Code Red emergency notification to residents downstream from St. Mary's Lake Dam of a potential dam failure. According to the county website, failure of the dam could cause significant flooding.
And inQueen Anne's County, a tree fell on a house and killed one person, according to officials.
Most flights in and out of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport were canceled by around noon Saturday, said BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge closed to traffic around 7:30 p.m., after winds exceeded 55 mph according to the Maryland Transportation Authority. The Port of Baltimore closed after the Chesapeake Bay closed to cargo ship traffic at 8 p.m.
Officials closed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia because of the storm, as well as the Route 450 bridge over the Severn River. Wind warnings were posted for the Key Bridge on Interstate 695 and the Thomas Johnson Bridge that connects Calvert and St. Mary's counties.
In Baltimore County, where low-lying coastal areas were hit hard by the storm surge from Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003, officials reported "good news" on the local government website early Saturday.
Irene whips Maryland
Hurricane cuts power to hundreds of thousands, but state avoids widespread damage, flooding
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