Parts of the Baltimore region experienced flooding after heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Ophelia as it moved up the East Coast but not enough to cause major damage or concern, county and city officials said.
In Baltimore, the Maryland Transit Administration was dealing with other damage from the storm Sunday morning after a tree fell on wires just north of the Cold Spring light rail station, blocking the tracks.
“A bus bridge will be in place to accommodate passengers between North Avenue and Hunt Valley stations making all station stops in between,” a notification on the state agency’s website said. “Regular Light Rail train service will operate southbound from North Avenue station.”
Flooding often happens in downtown Annapolis when a major storm hits, and it was no different for Ophelia. Floodwaters seeped over the edges of Ego Alley at City Dock, spreading across surrounding streets, including Dock Street and Compromise Street, which were closed to traffic. Several shops and restaurants along Dock Street appeared to be flooded, and a few cars left parked in that area faced an uncertain future.
The impact was much less damaging than when Tropical Storm Isabel wreaked havoc two decades ago, and most homes and businesses appeared to avoid the worst-case scenario of potential damage from this storm.
The capital city’s unofficial measure of flooding, a statue of author Alex Haley reading to children near the waterfront, indicated a not-too-bad level of flooding. Haley’s feet were wet and the children were sitting in water. During Isabel, only the author’s head and shoulders were visible.
Across town in Eastport, Donny Hundley surveyed the damage at the Annapolis Maritime Museum. The water from Back Creek slapped against the docks at the museum and popped some of the boards loose. It appeared that water crept into the museum itself — which actually is part of the museum’s design.
During Isabel, the force of the storm surge blew a huge hole in the low-lying building, which once was a historic oyster-shucking house. During renovations, the museum added scuppers to allow water to flow into the museum and then back out. Furniture and displays are movable, and electrical outlets are placed higher up on the walls.
”We moved a lot of stuff out of here and lifted things up, put blocks underneath — just to be prepared for this,” said Hundley, the museum’s director of maintenance. Hundley began to plan for the cleanup and minor repairs, but he was thankful the museum seemed to be mostly spared.
”It could be worse,” he said.
Baltimore officials also said the storm spared the region for the most part. Kevin Cartwright, spokesperson for the Baltimore City Fire Department, said “there were no remarkable events that we responded to,” aside from a downed tree.
He and representatives of a few other city agencies spent Saturday at the city’s emergency operations center waiting to deploy to accidents. However, the fire department did not have to activate search and water rescue or its special operations command team, he said.
“It was uneventful, thank goodness,” Cartwright said.
Some areas in the city experienced minor flooding, he said. Pools of water could be seen in parts of Fells Point and Federal Hill, but rain was expected to end in the afternoon and winds were much calmer. On Thames Street in Fells Point, the water came up to the bumper on some cars early Sunday but had receded by afternoon and business went on as usual.
Restaurant-goers and shoppers walked around and people in Ravens jerseys trickled into pubs and into The Point in Fells, a waterfront restaurant, where Sunday football was the main entertainment. On sunny days, outdoor seating is available at The Point, but Ricky Palmerino, the front house manager, chained the outdoor chairs in preparation for the storm. He also got sandbags because he was expecting the storm to be worse than it proved to be.
The restaurant was open until 2 a.m., even during the storm.
”Nothing happened except that business was slow,” Palmerino said. “No flooding. Pretty mild storm.”
Down the street on the Broadway Pier, the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of a 19th-century “Baltimore clipper,” was docked and open for people to come aboard. Chief Mate Shevawn Innes said they were scheduled to dock on the pier from Friday to Sunday, but the storm changed their plans.
”We canceled Friday and Saturday to stay at a winter maintenance dock in Canton,” Innes said. She said a crew of 12 people lives on the boat, and they slept comfortably on the boat amid the storm, which was not as severe as she had anticipated.
“We all live in the boat, so we were here and ready for anything, but [the storm] fared well,” Innes said.
Baltimore Gas and Electric tweeted Sunday morning that its crews are responding to weather-related outages and expect to restore the majority by 11 p.m. The company’s webpage showed about 2,000 customers out of power, which is less than 1% of its customers.
Rain showers are expected to continue Sunday, but the National Weather Service said the storm will move northward and rain showers should end from south to north.
“The next few days are expected to be cool, cloudy, and unsettled with further onshore flow,” the service tweeted around 6:50 a.m. Sunday.
Baltimore County’s Office of Emergency Management said the county was drenched by heavy rain but the damage was minimal.
“There have been reports of yard flooding in Bowley’s Quarters, but none of inland or flash flooding,” the county’s spokesperson said in a statement. “Residents should continue to be vigilant for falling trees weakened by saturated ground, and are reminded to never drive through flooded roads.”
Debris in the roadways is a possibility, but high winds across the state should settle. However, some parts of Maryland have seen close to 3 inches of rain. And Baltimore’s 311 webpage showed multiple reports of downed tree limbs and flooding Sunday morning.
Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina Saturday, bringing with it winds of 70 mph. It brushed into the Delmarva Peninsula and the lower Chesapeake, and stretched to the south shore of Long Island and coastal New Jersey. Ophelia downgraded to a tropical depression, a weak form of a tropical storm, Saturday night.
The city canceled Artscape on Saturday, along with other events. But Artscape continued Sunday and the Ravens football game against the Indianapolis Colts started at 1 p.m.
This story will be updated.
Banner media partner WJZ and Abby Zimmardi contributed to this article.