Ocean City preps for tropical storm Arthur
(WJLA) - Wednesday is about as good as it gets at the beach, and few are worried about a possible brush with Arthur.
"We've had good weather all week, so even if we get a rainy day I could take it...just not a rainy week," says Michelle D'Anthony.
It may just be a day, but city officials are keeping an eye on the weather.
"Arthur has certainly got our attention as any tropical storm would be early for the year, the season for ocean city...It's kind of a wake-up call for everybody to pay attention," says Ocean City's Head of Emergency Services Director, Joe Theobald.
In Ocean City, that means they may gather trash cans and other loose items from the beach and boardwalk, close storm gates, and plans for fireworks have already been postponed from Friday to Saturday.
"We don't look for a storm that's gonna create significant damage or change our weekend in any way... it's far enough offshore," says Mayor Rick Meehan.
But surf will be high through the weekend, which means potentially dangerous rip currents will keep lifeguards busy. Yet on Wednesday, with the sun shining, all of that just seems like an inconvenience to most.
"This place is pretty resilient; I've been here when there's been a foot a sand on the boardwalk, and then the next day it's all clean. So it doesn't worry me that much," says Jim Moore.
Telescope Picture salesman Cory Hornberger is definitely disappointed about the forecast. With Arthur looming over the horizon, he is doing his own version of storm preps.
“I'm trying to get people to get them done now instead of on the weekend so they don't have to worry about the rain," he says.
Rain will likely clear the beaches, but the head of the beach patrol here says that the biggest danger from the tropical storm or hurricane – even if it stays well offshore – will be the surf.
Those conditions will linger through the weekend, and Thoebald says he is taking the storm seriously, and that the whole town should pay attention to this early in the storm season.
UPDATE: Now that it's Thursday afternoon, an Ocean City Public Works crew weaves its way in between sunbathers to move trash bins back from the surf. And later tonight, lifeguard chairs will also be pulled back until a decision is made about whether or not the big metal sea gates along the boardwalk will be closed.
Even with the storm intensifying to a Category 2 hurricane, there is still no plan to evacuate.
"We know we're gonna get some wind and some rain out of this, we'll get heavy surf and rip currents…[but] tomorrow afternoon it'll start to wind down, Saturday will be sunny and beautiful, and we'll be back in business," says an optimistic Thoebald.
The town and beach are packed, and few vacationers seem to be changing their plans – even as the wind and waves begin to grow stronger.