Hurricane Sandy dispatches from across the region

1:09 AM EDT, October 30, 2012


Fells Point: Storm watchers

Updated: 2:07 p.m.

His face pummeled by sideways rain, Ruaidhri Burke watched his father staple plastic to the front door of John Steven tavern in Fells Point.

"I love this!" Ruadihri shouted into Hurricane Sandy's winds.

"Well, that makes one of us," answered his father Andrew Burke, laying another ring of sandbags around his business.

When Tropical Storm Isabel drowned the neighborhood in 2003, water filled the bar's basement floor to ceiling, then climbed two feet deep on the main floor. John Steven was shut down for 20 days and lost about $150,000 from damage and missed business.

"I absolutely cannot afford that," Burke said, rolling out roofing paper for his four-step waterproofing insulation: paper, plastic, sealing foam and sandbags.

He opened for business Monday morning, but closed shortly after the Governor's press conference announced people would die in the storm.

"That effectively closed down our business," he said.

While his father boarded up the tavern, Ruadihri, 11, explained how he aspires to be a storm chaser - "the best storm chaser." He studies hurricanes and checks books out of the library.

"I'm going to watch this storm outside for as long as I can," he said, then added after noticing a warning glance from his mother: "As long as it's safe, I mean. Then I go inside and watch from a really big window."

--Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore: Collapsed structure

Updated: 1:06 a.m.

About 7:30 p.m., emergency personnel responded to the 500 block of North Carey Street in the city's Harlem Park neighborhood for reports of a collapsed structure.

They found what appeared to be four vacant row homes fully collapsed, partially into the street, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a fire spokesman. It appeared barricades had previously been installed around the homes on a prior date, and fire personnel had responded to the homes earlier in the evening after receiving a report they were unsteady, Cartwright said.

There did not appear to be any injuries associated with the collapse, he said.

Otherwise, about 8 p.m. Sunday, the fire department was not dealing with an significantly larger number of fire or EMS calls than normal, Cartwright said.

They were dealing with more calls for flooded basements and downed power lines, he said. --Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore: Aftermath plans

Updated: 1:06 a.m.

As emergency responses got underway on Monday, some officials in Baltimore were already thinking about the aftermath.

Rich Williams, director of operations for MOEM, said personnel were "pre-staged and pre-located" across the city late Monday to assist as calls came in to 311 and 911. As the storm moves out of the area, likely late Tuesday, crews will "move into recovery mode," he said.

To assist in damage assessment and recovery during the 36 hours after the storm, a crew of 15 emergency management officials from Indiana has arrived in Baltimore as part of an Emergency Management Assistance Compact request the city made through MEMA. Crews from Indiana are also in Ocean City, Jersey City and New York City.

The crew, led by Gary A. Horvath, division chief of the South Bend Police Department, is comprised of law enforcement, fire, EMS and health officials trained in FEMA procedures for assisting localities in emergency response.

Horvath said his team will help to cull through 311 calls and cross-reference them with reports of power outages from BGE to determine where the hardest hit areas of the city are. That information will shape a recovery action plan the team produces for the city while the city's own officials focus on immediate emergency response.

"At a certain point there's a sensory overload or burn out," he said of the city's own staff, who are working long hours around the clock. "We're able to come in and really help them out."

Williams said the assistance is extremely helpful.

"Having the extra 15 people to go through the 311 calls just speeds up the process," he said.

Ian Brennan, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said a quick response following the storm will be critical.

"This could be the second time this year where we have 100,000 people in the city without power for a week," he said, referring to the summer's derecho. "But unlike the summer, people are going to be cold."--Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

Bowleys Quarters: Stocking up on the essentials

Updated: 2:01 p.m.

At the Carroll Island Shopping Center near some of eastern Baltimore County’s waterfront communities, residents were making last-minute emergency purchases Monday afternoon as rain poured down.

People seem more concerned about Hurricane Sandy than they have been for other storms in recent years, said Ken Hoffman, a manager of Carroll Island True Value Hardware.

“It seems like the public’s really riled up,” said Hoffman, whose son owns the store. “They’re scared.”

The store has sold out of items including batteries, flashlights, propane and gas cans, and “we must get 50 calls a day for generators,” Hoffman said.

“They’re buying anything that gives them a light,” he said. “Whatever makes them feel better, safe.”

At the Wal-Mart in the same shopping center, customers were stocking up on bread, toilet paper and other essentials.

Chris Gnagey, who has lived in Chase for more than a decade, said he is not as concerned about flooding as other people in the area are because he doesn’t lived on the waterfront. His biggest worry is losing power, said Gnagey, who bought canned goods, bottled water and a few other items but didn’t want to load up.

“It doesn’t make sense to stock up on a bunch of things and then lose power and you can’t cook anything,” said Gnagey, a teacher for the county schools.

--Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

Annapolis: Marinas gear up for high winds

Updated: 1:42 p.m.

At the Annapolis Yacht Club, dockmaster Jim Hyde said Monday he is bracing for high winds, that are expected later Monday night and Tuesday.

His crews spent the weekend double-tying any sailboats in the water whose owners hadn’t already done that. Boats on trailers in the parking lot area near the water were moved to a higher area of the lot, he said.

It’s not the storm surge that he expects to cause the most damage, but the high winds, which can unfurl a sail that’s not properly secured, and move a trailer with a boat on it ¿ if not shove the boat off its trailer. He’s added blocks at the trailer wheels, he said.

“If we get those winds for hours, I think we may get some damage,” he said

--Andrea Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

Harford County: More rain and higher winds are forecast

Updated: 1:38 p.m.

The latest update from the National Weather Service has Harford County bracing for a more serious assault from Hurricane Sandy than initially anticipated. The service projects the county will receive a foot of rain and be pelted with winds up to 80 miles per hour. Sustained winds of about 50 miles per hour will begin about 6 p.m. Monday and continue for about 12 hours, county officials said.

Most area streams are already up to their banks and the prolonged heavy rains will likely cause inland flooding. Residents in flood-prone areas should evacuate. Patterson Mill High School, 85 Patterson Mill Road, and the Level Volunteer Fire Co., 3633 Level Village Road are serving as emergency shelters. Officials are asking residents to avoid driving through Tuesday and have closed county offices, courts, schools and libraries.

The city of Havre de Grace on the banks of the Susquehanna River has placed sand bags along its waterfront as officials look anxiously to high tide about 10:30 p.m. Monday.

“We are staying flexible,” said John Van Gilder, Havre de Grace spokesman. “We have a lot of institutional knowledge and are watching what typically floods in these storms.”

The city is as concerned about what happens when the storm passes, he said. As the river crests, Exelon Power, which manages the Conowingo Dam, will have to open additional gates to handle the increased water volume.

“The dam is currently operating normally,” said Robert Judge, Exelon spokesman. “But we are preparing to lift seven to nine crest gates Wednesday through Thursday.”

The nearby Route 222 through the town of Port Deposit in Cecil County would not close, unless as many as 14 gates are opened.

--Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore: List of shelters and road closures

Updated: 1:08 p.m.

Baltimore closed roads and opened shelters Monday as officials expected flooding from Hurricane Sandy.

As steady rain pounded the city, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the following streets would be closed due to potential flooding.