As Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas, most of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard has been put on notice to keep a close eye on the storm. Among the communities in the so-called “cone of uncertainty” are beaches that are only a day trip away from the D.C. region.
In Ocean City, Mayor Rick Meehan said the city hasn’t begun preparations but is ready to open its emergency operation plan in the days ahead.
“It is a cone of uncertainty, and the best thing we can do is just follow it very carefully,” said Meehan.
He believes Ocean City will be impacted by the storm, but it remains unclear how bad things will be.
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“It is going to affect the ocean; it is going to affect our tides,” Meehan said.
In nearby Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, city leaders are also watching the storm’s movements closely.
“It’s all of sudden perked up our interests,” said Paul Kuhns, the mayor of Rehoboth Beach.
Kuhns said the city has begun monitoring the storm hourly and could begin, as early as tomorrow, removing from the beach things that the wind could pick up. The same will also take place in Ocean City, Meehan said.
With the current track, the main concern is keeping swimmers safe — and potentially stopping swimming if conditions become too dangerous, Kuhns said.
If Dorian stays out at sea, Kuhns still expects the storm to impact the beach — and dunes that were recently installed to protect the boardwalk.
“I anticipate we will probably lose a decent amount of sand,” Kuhns said.
Dorian is expected to be a lot closer to shore when it churns by Nags Head, North Carolina, in the Outer Banks. For that reason, Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon said on a busy holiday weekend, city officials are meeting to discuss storm preparations.
The meetings will include forecast briefings and talks about pre-staging supplies and securing staff that would be needed to respond to the storm, Cahoon said.
“It seems almost certain that even if the storm misses us offshore, or if it goes a little bit inland of us, we’re going to see torrential rain, flooding, high surf,” he said.
Much of the attention, he said, will also go toward helping with evacuation plans for islands in the Outer Banks that depend on ferries and roads which easily flood to get to and from the mainland.
All three cities say they are working to make sure residents and visitors are informed and prepared for what Dorian could bring in the coming days.
“You have to prepare for the worst, and hopefully the result will be a lot less than that,” Meehan said.
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