Ocean City says it's ready for future storms
Although government weather forecasters said last week that they expect 2013 will feature at least a dozen named storms -- making the hurricane season, which begins on Saturday, an active one -- leaders and residents of the Maryland beach community said they were confident they'd be ready.
"I think we're well prepared," Mayor Rick Meehan said. "You don't get overconfident, but I think we have done a good job."
The town has earned plaudits in recent years for its responses to Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. In the aftermath of Sandy, Meehan said, the town was up and running within 12 hours.
And although Ocean City has had no shortage of local political drama -- two city councilmen were easily defeated last year -- residents heaped praise on the town's leaders for their storm preparedness.
"They do an excellent job," said Bernie Kreichauf, a jeweler. "As soon as the storm is over, they're out here cleaning sand off the boardwalk. They're proactive."
And Meehan said he thinks his town is be even more ready for this hurricane season after dozens of local government employees went through a seminar at a Federal Emergency Management Agency facility in Emmitsburg.
"It was another one of those good experiences, especially right after Sandy, that helped our community be even more prepared in the future," Meehan said of the February conference. "They had instructors from all over the country."
Residents said that the storms of 2011 and 2012 hadn't increased their anxiety about living along the Atlantic, chiefly because they're accustomed to wild weather.
"I feel like you can never tell with Maryland weather," said Yagmur Karaman, who was born and raised in Ocean City and was working at her parents' funnel cake stand. "One day it's sunny and the next day there's a tornado watch."