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No Major Damage In Ocean City; Residents, Tourists Return

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ)– Irene has come and gone.  Now residents are making their way back to Ocean City and business owners are surveying the damage.

Jessica Kartalija has more.

“We actually never expected to be back in Ocean City at this time,” said one resident.

Residents and business owners were the first to make their way back over the Route 50 bridge after mandatory evacuations Friday.

City crews were out early to clear debris off the streets and put sand back on the beach where it belongs.

“Clean up the streets, pick up all the debris near the boardwalk for the emergency routes and everything.  That’s our job,” said one worker.

Financially, many are taking a huge hit down here.  Purnell Properties owns four motels.  A parking lot on a typical August weekend would be packed.  They estimate they lost $100,000, thanks to Irene.

“We thank God that everything is all right.  We would rather be overprepared than underprepared,” said General Manager Austin Purnell.  “That’s what we got and we are lucky.”

Mayor Rick Meehan says because everyone had to leave Ocean City this weekend, they are expecting larger than normal crowds over the Labor Day weekend when they are expecting nicer weather.

Gov. Martin O’Malley says there’s very little damage to Ocean City after Hurricane Irene blew past the resort town overnight.

O’Malley appeared especially heartened that Ocean City did not sustain greater damage. He says Mayor Rick Meehan “was almost giddy to be able to report that his city fared as well as it did.”

“Actually it’s a very good morning in Ocean City. It’s quite unlike the morning that we anticipated. It was a long night last night, but I can tell you we dodged a missile in Ocean City,” said Meehan.

No injuries have been reported.

Power outages are still reported in some areas of the community. The wastewater plant, which had been shut down as the storm approached, is back in service.

Mike Hellgren didn’t see any major damage as he surveyed the barrier island Sunday morning.

 The eye of Hurricane Irene passed Ocean City within 50 miles in the early morning hours on Sunday. Localized flooding was reported as sustained winds reached 60 mph, with top wind speed recorded at 80 mph. Rainfall amount totaled 12 inches.

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