It’s difficult to rank the severity of storms, as there’s no accurate statistics available worth relying on, but last week’s three-day event has to be considered among the worst in recent history as far as the toll it took on the beach.
What’s most important here is to remember it’s the beach we are dwelling on today and not loss of lives or properties. Surely, there were some damaged buildings and individual units as a result of last week’s storm, which featured high winds, ocean surge and torrential rains, but by and large it was not a major event from a private industry perspective.
Things could have been terribly worse in Ocean City and other surrounding coastal areas, and much of the credit goes to beach replenishment, specifically the stable dune system present from the end of the Boardwalk north to the Delaware line.
The local love fest over the dune system’s ability to save numerous properties in Ocean City cannot be underscored enough. It shielded oceanfront properties from what would have surely been catastrophic ocean flooding.
When the coastal bays flood the streets of downtown Ocean City, it can be serious, but that happens quite often actually at times of high tides and heavy rains. On the other hand, an ocean flood would mean devastation for the resort. It would have changed all the headlines in this week’s paper, and the dunes are what kept the ocean and bay from meeting last weekend.
Everyone from elected and appointed officials to public safety folks to insurance agents pointed to the dunes this week in appreciation, and we prefer not to ever grovel over anything, but the dunes deserve a standing ovation.
As is the case with most major storms, there’s lots of interesting stories that come about. Insurance Management Group, Inc. owner Reese Cropper III related one this week. “I was walking up to the dunes on one of the streets and I was talking to woman, who was upset, and she said, ‘oh my gosh, it’s horrible what’s happened to our dunes, they are gone.’ I told her, ‘it’s done exactly what it’s designed to do and what we paid for it do. If it wasn’t here, your building would have been the one damaged, not the dune.’ People need to understand this is what it’s designed to do … we can rebuild it so it’s back to the way it was before the storm,” Cropper said.
It had been widely reported earlier this week that structural damage was minimal in town. Cropper confirmed that, based on the lack of reports from his clients. “We anticipated a lot of claims. However, fortunately for the residents and property owners of Ocean City, there really has not been as much damage as anticipated,” he reported.
Although the cleanup efforts will continue for the next couple months in and around Ocean City, we should all be thankful that when we finally got outside on Sunday we did not find matters much worse. The dunes are a main reason why the consequences of the storm were limited to the beach.