Hurricane Gloria, which briefly skirted Ocean City, Md., Friday, caused an estimated $6 million in damages to the ever-vulnerable resort town, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said yesterday.
Corps officials said the estimate does not cover the cost of replacing the estimated 700,000 cubic feet of sand that was blown from the town's shrinking beaches. It also does not include money to remove the storm-swept sand that now covers most of the narrow strip's streets and buildings.
Much of the damage caused by Gloria's visit centered on Ocean City's popular two-mile boardwalk.
The boardwalk, which was constructed in 1962, was ripped apart and strewn as far as one block inland.
However, town officials said they had already planned to replace the structure this winter at a projected cost of $1 million.
While town leaders met yesterday with Corps officials, Rep. Roy Dyson (D-Md.) and Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) to discuss the damage, Ocean City residents continued to clean up after the storm. Stacks of splintered wood four feet high and mountains of sand began to appear along the curbsides.
Officials said it may take a week to remove the debris.
A ban on oyster and clam harvesting in the bays near Ocean City was still in effect yesterday, a town official said, and it will continue until state environmental officials have determined that the water has cleansed itself of pollutants discharged during the storm. The affected areas include Sinepuxent Bay, the Isle of Wight Bay and a section of Assawoman Bay north of Assateague National Seashore Bridge.
Despite the lingering evidence of Gloria -- or perhaps because of it -- Ocean City enjoyed a big tourist day yesterday, said Bob Craig, captain of the beach patrol.
Visitors walked gingerly over the buckled boardwalk, reopened to pedestrians after being closed Friday between Fifth and 27th streets. Most of the seaside restaurants and stores were back in business. The water temperature was 70 degrees and the sky was a flawless blue.
"We've got lots of sightseers," said Craig, who estimated the crowds on the beaches at 10,000. "Everybody wants to get a look at the boardwalk -- or what's left of it."