Lest any of us forget while talking major storm damage, Gloria did some serious damage to OC as recently as 1985, that's why they built the dune line north and the sea-wall (I call it a wave launching ramp) along the boardwalk as well as set in motion the complete re-construction of the boardwalk and promenade. Whole sections of the boardwalk had been lifted and shoved right into oceanfront buildings.
And then the simple Nor' Easter of March '62. I was in Cape May at the time and that storm wiped out not only the convention center, but the entire boardwalk with water getting two blocks of three toward main street. My house (The Manse) became a shelter for no less than five other families fleeing the flooding. Ocean City had water covering the barrier island and halfway up the first floors of all the buildings downtown. From West OC all you could see was buildings standing in water. A second inlet breached the sand spit at 72nd street and a bus driver headed for work drowned when he mistook 6 inches of rising water for hard pavement beneath. He found the new inlet instead.
Bottom line, it's a lot like trying to lock up your car or house so no one can get in. If the ocean wants to get in, those grass anchored dunes aren't going to have an effect for more than a couple of hours, and then we'll all be shoveling the sand out from under condo garages, assuming of course that the condos are even still standing because they were designed with break-away cinderblock walls below the first floor.
While OC and DE generally don't have as big a target painted on them as OBX does, we're still an accident waiting to happen. Just so many houses built on sand instead of rock, no matter how deep the pilings are driven. There's a reason all the houses in OBX are built on stilts, even on the sound side. Delaware has learned that valuable lesson for the most part, but it seems as if Ocean City has forgotten it.
this is from ocmuseum.org site - there have been several large hurricanes but this account did not give a numerical value on them - I don't think they rated them at that time.
The following account is taken from the county's weekly newspaper of August 24, 1933, THE DEMOCRATIC MESSENGER.
TERRIFIC STORM IN WORCESTER
DOES MILLION DOLLARS DAMAGE
Story Of The Storm
By 1933, Ocean City had grown as far as Fifteenth Street. But 15th Street was still considered by the locals to be "way up the beach" or "way out of town". By this time most of the large hotels had been built, with vacation cottages dispersed amongst them. Baltimore Avenue had filled out with very nice year-round homes. Philadelphia Avenue was sparsely populated and entire blocks on the bayside were marsh. One thousand five hundred people made Ocean City their year round residence. Never the less, Ocean City was becoming a popular vacation resort. But the town needed something more. A way to the ocean was needed, other than launching fishing boats from the beach into the surf. Several companies were formed to dredge inlets across what is now Assateague Island in desperate attempts to provide a pathway to the sea. All attempts failed.
It seems that in Worcester the greatest damage, considering the size of the place, was done at Public Landing. Many stories have been told about Ocean City, scarcely any being alike, but there is no difference in the stories that the people were badly frightened at the mountainous waves that battered down the boardwalk, smashed in windows and in South Ocean City destroyed a number of places of business. Many of the guest of hotels left, as soon as they could, for their homes. All the streets were heavily flooded and electricity and water supplies cut off. Calhoun's barber shop was badly damaged. The cellar floor of the George Washington Hotel was wrecked; the Atlantic Hotel sustained some damage. Waves beat in the windows of the Idlewyld and other hotels were damaged. The pier withstood the storm, but it is said the bridge is damaged. We are informed that two inlets were cut by the storm at Ocean City--one near the south boardwalk and the other at or near the old inlet (near North Beach). One of the greatest misfortunes is the destroying of the Ocean City fish pounds by the storm. The fishing industry is the greatest of all Ocean City money producers. The storm ends fishing for this season and has caused great financial loss for the owners.