- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

ANNAPOLIS — Hundreds of residents and business owners forced out of downtown Annapolis on Friday morning by the unprecedented storm surge of Hurricane Isabel were picking up, sweeping out and — in a handful of cases — starting over yesterday.

Sveinn C. Storm, who started the Storm Brothers Ice Cream shop on Dock Street in the 1970s, said he is still totaling up his losses.

“We thought it was going to be a 3- or 4-footer,” Mr. Storm said, “but when it got past that, we knew we did not have a prayer.”

He estimated the shop would not be opened until the weekend at the earliest and said the cost of the flood depends on what shape the store’s equipment is in.

“If the equipment doesn’t work, it will cost me $30,000,” he said. “If all my equipment works, it will cost me $5,000 or $6,000.”

David E. Sargus Jr., of the Annapolis Yacht Company on Dock Street, estimated the business would be open again Friday at the earliest.

“We had no idea it would be this bad,” Mr. Sargus said of the business, which sits right on the waterfront. “We were in complete shock. [To] most people who were expecting even a couple of inches of water, we said no way. If we were a restaurant or some other type of business it would have been a lot more severe.”

Other businesses welcomed customers back yesterday.

Mike Riordan, manager of Riordan’s Saloon, had electricity but no air conditioning. The restaurant’s ceiling fans, he said, helped make it feel like business as usual.

“We had about a foot of water, but it did not affect the kitchen,” he said.

Sabrina Bahir, an employee at the Museum Store, said the shop prepared for 5 feet of water but only received 2 feet.

“I think we lost one book,” Miss Bahir said.

Mike Freitas, operations director for Watermark Cruises on the Severn River, said the company’s dozen boats were unscathed because they were moved to a nearby river in preparation for the hurricane.

Ron H. McKie, a captain at Woodwind Sailing Cruises, said his company also moved its boats, but his business is still hurting since the entire dock near the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront, where he is usually based, has been closed.

Mr. McKie said business has dropped “significantly” and he had no idea when the dock would reopen so he could return his boats to their normal debarkation point.

“I don’t even think the [hotels] restaurant knows,” he said.

Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer said the city will scramble to fix the damage left by Isabel before the U.S. Sailboat Show opens on Oct 9. The Powerboat Show follows on Oct. 16.

“We have got some quick repairs to do to the Fawcett dock,” where the boat shows will be based, Mrs. Moyer said.

She said she was proud her city had endured the highest tide since 1933, and said the damaged Maritime Museum, Annapolis Chart House and O’Leary’s Seafood would all be repaired.

“We are really in very good shape,” she said. “I think what we have been able to do in 24 hours has been phenomenal. Now, are there businesses that are not open yet? Of course. And yes there is a concern, and yes the city is going to lose money.”

The area’s Disaster Recovery Center is scheduled to open at 1 p.m. today. Those seeking loans, personal assistance, help with employment, crisis counseling and veterans benefits are asked to call FEMA at 800/621-3362 before arrival.

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