Baltimore County

Ruppersberger, county officials tour damage on Baltimore Co.'s east side

Watersedge resident Jean Parker was dealing with a backyard and basement full of water Tuesday afternoon after Storm Sandy — but the Baltimore County resident was still counting her blessings.

Her home has fared far worse in past storms, said Parker, who has lived there since 1959.

"It's nothing compared to Isabel" in 2003, Parker said. "And we didn't lose electricity. … We're really blessed with that."

Parker got a surprise visit from U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and County Councilman John Olszewski Sr., who were touring eastern Baltimore County neighborhoods to assess storm damage in an area that is prone to flooding.

Earlier, the congressman and councilman drove through the Turner Station neighborhood with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. All three officials said damage to the county was not as bad as many had feared it could be.

Parts of the county have flooding between 1 and 3 feet, Kamenetz said, compared with 6 feet during Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003. And the county did not suffer as much tree damage as it has in storms in recent years, he added.

The county executive visited residents in several waterfront communities Tuesday, and "they've become used to the drill, so to speak, so nobody was excitable or upset, and they felt it was manageable," Kamenetz said.

Local officials have also gotten fewer complaints about power outages than expected.

"What I'm hearing from the district is that we dodged a bullet, and not as many people lost power," Olszewski said. "Not only were the leaders proactive with the storm ahead of time, but the residents took heed. …There was better preparedness this time. People didn't mess around with it because they knew what the consequences would be. … It could have been a whole lot worse."