Sandy: not as bad as Isabel, but still left a mark
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:25



by Bill Gates

    For those Dundalk-Edgemere residents who spent last week’s storm trying to keep flood waters out of their homes, or who sat for hours in the dark, there was nothing minor about the storm called Sandy.
    But, realistically, in the words of County Councilman John Olszewski Sr (7th District), “we dodged a bullet.”
    Certainly, in comparison to what happened in other parts of the country, particularly New Jersey and New York, the Dundalk-Edgemere area got off light.
    Flooding was about one to three feet, power outages were measured in hours, for the most part, and tree damage was reportedly minimal.
    Tropical Storm Isabel, it wasn’t.
    Again, that is little consolation to those local residents who did suffer from the storm.
    “Low-level flooding [in Baltimore County] is already subsiding with limited damage to our waterfront areas, power is being restored and tree and debris-removal operations will be completed in days,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement posted on the county website.
    BGE estimated about 54,000 people lost power in Baltimore County from Sandy. By Thursday, only about 700 BGE customers statewide were still without power.
    Still, if Sandy had tracked just a little bit further south, the storm would have had a much greater impact.
    “Many places saw significant wind gusts not thunderstorm-related, which overall for our area is very rare,” said Sparrows Point grad and Dundalk resident Ryan Krimm, a co-founder and lead forecaster with the Hazardous Weather Prediction Center.
    “There were places, such as Dundalk, which received gusts to 68 miles per hour and likely higher,” Krimm said on Oct. 30.
    Since Sandy tracked northeast of Baltimore, the area was spared the storm surge that marked Isabel in 2003.
    “If [Sandy] would have gone south of Baltimore, flooding would have been an issue,” Krimm said. “However, on the backside of Sandy, water rushed back to certain areas as the onshore flow and southeast breezes took over for certain periods [and led to] flooding in Sparrows Point, Fort Howard and Millers Island.”
    But it was less than half of the storm surge caused by Isabel, after which the athletic fields of Sparrows Point High School were under water.
    Sandy left Sparrows Point High muddy and wet, but not submerged.
    “One of the major reasons could be that Sandy did not mix down its strongest winds, as the precipitation over us at certain points was not as hard as it could have been,” Krimm said. “Meaning the winds that were just above the surface and were raging at 80-90 mph were being brought down effectively.
    “Additionally, the storm remained tropical longer than anticipated, and this kept the winds a bit more consolidated than expected.”
    The storm also had an increase in speed, which reduced the overall duration of the tropical storm conditions.
    The “derecho” storm that blew through Maryland in June, causing widespread damage and power outages, may have also contributed to the seemingly lesser impact of Sandy.
    “BGE had to clear certain areas with tree damage to get to previously-downed wires and damaged transformers,” Krimm said. “Therefore, this time around, barring places which are prone to outages or received an isolated higher wind gusts, the power outages were not as widespread.”

Examples of the storm’s impact on the area include (below, top to bottom):  Roland Dorsey's shots of Monday road flooding at Dunmanway and Liberty Parkway and in Watersedge, a rain-soaked athletic field in Watersedge and a depth gauge ready to measure the water collecting on North Point Road; Dotty Christy's photos of flooding on 12th Street, Chesapeake Avenue, and Peach Orchard Road, two views of flooded Sparrows Point Country Club parking lots, wind damage at Blue Fin's on Wise Avenue, more flooding at 12th Street and Cuckold Point Road and on Chesapeake Avenue; at bottom, Chesapeake Avenue may have been impassable by car, but Cara Mosley got around just fine in her paddleboat, as a photo taken by her mother, Angie Sanders, shows.

photos by Dottie Cristy