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Hurricane Ida: One year later

A year has passed after a tornado, caused by the remnants of Ida, ripped through Annapolis...
Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 21:50:50-04

ANNAPOLIS — A little over a year ago, Hurricane Ida swept through parts of the country leaving damage in its wake. This included the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

While there was some heavy rain, flooding was not the cause of the damage this time for the capital city.

An EF-2 tornado ripped through parts of the city, damaging homes and businesses, with one of them being the International Latino Market on West Street.

Walter Vasquez, Owner of the International Latino Market, recalls that day as he was driving to the store with his daughter.

“And I picked her up and I was coming here to get an ice cream for her," Vazquez said. "And I was just about to get here and there is an Exxon gas station, we were going to stop and put some gas and then all of a sudden its wind and horses racing. And we got into the car and we just went down with our heads. Probably lasted 25-30 seconds.”

Once the tornado passed, Vasquez raced to the store to check on his employees who were working that day and found them all safe and well. His market on the other hand, did not have the same luck.

The devastation was so bad, not only for his store but also nearby ones, that Mayor Gavin Buckley and even Governor Larry Hogan came to see it.

The damage was bad enough that the governor asked Vazquez, "what next?"

“I told him ‘Look, we are immigrants. We have seen the worst. So, this one is a bump in the road. Tomorrow, we’ll be back up and working on this and I promise you I will open again.’”

Vazquez has kept his word and is just days away from opening his doors to the community again.

But other buildings in the area are still untouched from that day.

"It took us along time to sort of get that area back on its feet and even to this day you can see twisted roofs on some of the buildings,” said Mayor Buckley.

Mayor Buckley goes on to mention that those buildings have made the decision to redevelop their buildings instead of rebuilding.

Luckily, during that time the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County were very helpful to families and businesses that need the help.

“They were all here offering help. Until now this would not be possible without the city, and the officials, and the county's help. It would never be open again,” Vazquez added.

Along with ensuring that Annapolis can have funds available for residents and businesses when the next disaster strikes, the city is working on raising the city dock walls another six feet to limit tidal flooding. Saving business and homeowners thousands due to the damage.