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Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 09/ 2/2010

Ocean City prepares for Hurricane Earl

By Washington Post editors

A sprinkle of tourists lined Coastal Highway, Ocean City's main drag, Thursday as families and couples strolled toward the boardwalk, towels and beach chairs in tow. The soft breeze and clear blue sky were no indication of the rain and high winds expected to whip through the area in a few hours.

Hurricane Earl will pass through about 200 miles offshore of the town beginning early Friday morning until Friday afternoon.

“That's good news for us,” town spokeswoman Donna Abbott said, nodding her head. “It's a fast-moving storm, hopefully it'll just blow past.

A hurricane watch is in effect and residents are being asked to stay in doors during the storm.

The town is expecting winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts reaching up to 55 mph. As a result, residents and businesses are being asked to secure loose furniture and other objects on balconies, patios or decks. Between one and two inches of rain and moderate flooding in low-lying areas are expected.

Sussex County in Delaware is anticipating similar conditions.

“Really, at this point it's been a lot of watching and monitoring the progress of the storm,” county spokesman Chip Guy said. “The brunt of the storm is expected to miss us.”

In Ocean City, the beach could actually safeguard the town. In the 1990s, the town built sand dunes and a concrete seawall along portions of the boardwalk to guard against flooding.

“The beach has protected our property and our lives,” Abbott said.

Labor Day weekend is one of Ocean City's biggest holiday weekends, with about 250,000 visitors. Town officials are asking tourists to delay their visits rather than cancel them.

“It may affect tourism,” Abbott said. “We're hoping that it's not a complete washout.”

-- Kafia Hosh reported from Ocean City

For more hurricane updates, check here.

By Washington Post editors  | September 2, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland, Weather  
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It's time to sit back have a glass of red and hope for the best.

Posted by: psychikos | September 3, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

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