Winter storm leaves Kent all wet

ROCK HALL — Kent County weathered its first winter storm of the new year, and no shoveling of snow was required.

Instead, it was heavy rain, gusting wind and flooding that kept folks inside Tuesday night and shuttered schools and Washington College on Wednesday.

Power outages were reported in Rock Hall, Chestertown and Galena.

On Tuesday night, Jan. 9, Maryland State Police responded to a crash on state Route 20 and Rock Hall Police Department responded to a single-vehicle crash into a tree on Sharp Street.

Only minor injuries were reported.

Kent County Sheriff Dennis Hickman said there were no reported incidents on county roads.

“There were numerous downed trees, power lines and standing water that blocked or partially blocked roads,” Hickman told The Evening Enterprise in a text message Wednesday. 

He said there were 15 reported road hazards countywide during the storm.

At about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, the Kent County Office of Emergency Services posted an alert recommending that residents shelter in place due to high tide and numerous flood hazards.

The recommendation was lifted at 8:30 a.m.

Kent County Public Schools used the first of three inclement weather days that are built into its 2023-24 academic year calendar.

With a storm brewing, the school system on Tuesday sent students home early, canceled extracurricular activities and initially announced that there would be a 90-minute delayed opening Wednesday. 

But on Wednesday morning, just before 6:30, the school system sent out a notice that schools would be closed all day.

While no part of the county was spared, Rock Hall appeared to take the biggest hit with what Police Chief Bill Dempsey described as “tremendous flooding and a huge debris field left by the receding tide.”

Dempsey reported 2 to 3 feet of water in some areas, which led to road closures on Hawthorne, Lawton and Chesapeake avenues and Sharp Street.

An uprooted tree along Route 20 in the area known as the “Double Woods” near Rock Hall pulled down power lines, putting residents in the dark from about 8 p.m. Tuesday until just before 4 o’clock the next morning, according to Dempsey.

The RHPD chief also reported that the snow fence at Ferry Park, which is set up in the winter to facilitate beach restoration, was “wiped out.”

Dempsey was quick to acknowledge the proactive measures taken by Town Manager Bob Resele, including having a portable electronic roadside sign advising anyone coming into town of the high winds and possible flooding that would come with the severe storm.

Residents in low-lying areas were advised they could park their vehicles at the town-owned Lagoon pocket park and the elementary school.

For the most part, Dempsey said, “People took heed and stayed indoors.”

 

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