Homeowners Cleaning up After Storm - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Homeowners Cleaning up After Storm

A woman tries to sweep away water in a flooded yard in Bowers Beach. (Photo: WBOC) A woman tries to sweep away water in a flooded yard in Bowers Beach. (Photo: WBOC)
Flooding in Mariner's Cove near Long Neck (Viewer-submitted photo) Flooding in Mariner's Cove near Long Neck (Viewer-submitted photo)
The Red Cross opened this shelter Monday in the Little Creek Fire Department (Photo: WBOC) The Red Cross opened this shelter Monday in the Little Creek Fire Department (Photo: WBOC)

05/13/2008 11:17 AM ET

BOWERS BEACH, Del. (WBOC/AP)- Cleanup efforts are underway after Monday's storm system lashed the mid-Atlantic region with high winds and heavy rain.

Residents swept away debris and checked out their homes Tuesday morning in Bowers Beach, one of the communities on the Delaware coast hard hit by the storm.

Shirley Donovan has lived in Bowers Beach for nearly 30 years. She said she has never seen things so bad.

"It was pretty bad," she said. "During the first tide, I was down in the tackle shop. It actually came up to my knees and my waist. Luckily, I put everything up high. I lost a lot of stuff so I'm going around town trying to pick up everything. I see some of my stuff in everybody's backyard."

Donovan also says her tackle shop and truck were also severely damaged.

Thousands of people lost power across Delmarva as a result of the storm. Delmarva Power reported Tuesday that hundreds of homes and businesses were still without power. That number has decreased significantly from Monday, when several thousand customers were left in the dark.

Tidal flooding on Monday afternoon forced the temporary closure of Route 1, a major north-south highway, near the Indian River Inlet bridge in southern Sussex County. In addition, some roads in coastal Sussex County, as well as several streets on the south end of Ocean City, Md. had to be closed because of tidal flooding.

Many people had to leave their homes for safer ground. More than 200 people living in coastal communities in central Delaware had to be evacuated after Monday morning's high tide sent waves crashing through low-lying areas up and down the coast.

At Pickering Beach east of Dover Air Force Base, National Guard trucks ferried about 50 residents to safety early Monday after the churning surf washed over the dune line and swirled around the pilings of the small cottages, burying some vehicles in sand and water.

As the water receded, it left behind buckled asphalt and a layer of silty mud that covered much of the village.

Charlie Wu and his neighbor, Charlie Hinkle, got a brief chance to inspect the damage Monday afternoon after riding a National Guard truck back to collect some clothing and other belongings. The water had crept into the vehicles of both men and flooded Wu's ground floor storage area, leaving a watermark about two feet off the floor.

"I just tossed and turned all night," said Hinkle, 66, recalling how high winds and rain pelted the area overnight.

Hinkle awoke about 6:30 a.m., looked out his window and saw that his home was a virtual island, surrounded by water on all sides.

"There was 4 feet of water underneath the house," he said.

Hinkle, who lives in York, Pa., and has a summer cottage at Pickering, initially decided to ride out the flooding. But he left after the power was cut and marine police told him to evacuate.

He and the Wus joined about a dozen other neighbors who piled into a National Guard truck that took them to the Little Creek Fire Department.

Fire chief Scott Bundick said about 175 people were evacuated from Kitts Hummock and about 50 from Pickering Beach. Some took shelter, at least temporarily, at the fire station, while most went to stay with friends or relatives.

Bundick said crews responding about 2:30 a.m. to an initial call for help from a family stranded in Kitts Hummock encountered only minimal flooding.

"Within one hour, we were in chest-deep water ... it happened pretty quickly," he said.

Rescuers initially used boats to rescue people, but as the tide receded and the water became shallower, National Guard troop carriers capable of driving through four feet of water were sent in.

Jane Wu passed out garbage bags to neighbors gathered at her home to put on their feet so they could wade out to the truck that took them to Little Creek.

"It was quite an experience," said Wu, 67. "We've got something to tell our children."


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