By MADDY VITALE
Tropical Storm Ophelia battered the coast, bringing with it heavy rain and strong wind gusts. But residents and visitors to Ocean City made the most of a soggy Saturday.
In fact, some visitors strolled along the Boardwalk, checked out the waves and ducked into stores there and in the downtown.
Beth Molnar, her daughter, Andie, and their friends, Michelle Gehman and her daughter, Molly, all from Collegeville, Pa., took a stroll – albeit a wet one – down Asbury Avenue to stop in some of the shops.
When asked why they were out, as a strong wind gust flipped up Andie’s umbrella, Michelle said with a laugh, “What else is there to do? You have to make the most of it.”
Beth chimed in, “A little rain won’t stop us.”
The impacts of Tropical Storm Ophelia are expected to linger through Sunday.
Ocean City Emergency Management Director Frank Donato said at about 2 p.m. that the conditions were as expected so far with downpours, winds and projected flooding in some parts of the island.
“We are waiting for the afternoon high tide at around 3 p.m. today, which is expected to be the worst flooding we’ll see from this storm,” Donato said.
The city alerted the community on Friday to move cars from low-lying neighborhoods, and Donato reinforced the message.
As for winds, “Winds in O.C. have been sustained all morning in the 30s, with a few gusts in the low 50s,” Donato noted.
Mike Herr of Harrisonburg, Va., and his son, Cole, walked along the Boardwalk in the sideways rain. They came for a vacation on Wednesday and were leaving Sunday.
“My wife was out in it first and said it was pretty wet. The ocean was wild and pretty cool, so we figured we would come out and see for ourselves,” Mike said.
But after being out in the gusty winds, pelting rains and watching the churned-up surf, Cole was ready to head to dry land.
“I want to go home and lay down now,” Cole said with a smile.
Other visitors had the same upbeat attitude despite the weather cutting some of their activities down for their fall retreat at the shore.
Joe and Amy Denelsbeck, of Rockledge, Pa., tried to shield themselves from the whipping winds and rain as they walked along the Boardwalk.
They had a sense of humor about vacationing in Ocean City during a tropical storm.
“We are here for our rain-cation,” Joe joked.
“We are storm chasers,” Amy added with a laugh.
But the couple, who came down Saturday, just enjoy the island in the fall.
“We always come to Ocean City in the fall. We had our reservations, so we figured we’d just come down,” Amy said.