LBI Weathers Storm Saturn With Moderate Flooding

Mar 07, 2013
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Long Beach Island residents woke up to flooded roads in low-lying areas Thursday, March 7, as high tide on the bay at 5:45 a.m. inundated parts of Long Beach Boulevard from Ship Bottom southward. A voluntary evacuation advisory for oceanfront homes in sections of Long Beach Township was issued Wednesday, March 6, and lifted the following afternoon.

“Going into the storm, the Department of Public Works, which maintains the dunes, felt that those areas were potentially weak,” said township Emergency Management Coordinator/Police Chief Michael Bradley said Thursday.

“Based on their post-storm assessment early this morning, they did bring sand to some of those areas around 80th Street and to some locations in Holgate.”

Township Mayor Joseph Mancini said his municipality experienced beach erosion but no breaches.

“We lost some sand off the beaches primarily in Holgate and from 72nd Street in Brant Beach to 84th Street in Brighton Beach,” he noted. “We’re trucking sand to those areas and rebuilding the beaches as much as we can ... and the DEP is helping with the cost share.”

The voluntary evacuation advisory had been announced by the Long Beach Township Police Department and by the Long Beach Island Joint Emergency Operations Center, the latter of which is made up of emergency management coordinators from the Island municipalities. It was the only emergency notification that the storm necessitated, except for a warning that roads might be flooded.

That warning continues into Saturday during periods of higher tides, calling for minor to moderate flooding.

“Now through Saturday, be aware of up to moderate flooding, which may impact driving,” Bradley said Thursday. The emergency notifications cautioned drivers that parts of Long Beach Boulevard “may be impassable” during high tides, and indeed that was the case on Thursday.

“ What seems to be happening is that the bay is slow to release the water,” Bradley said, “and some of that is related to wind direction.”

Damage assessments will continue of homes and businesses in the lowest-lying areas, where repairs are still under way from Superstorm Sandy.

An immediate assessment could not be obtained for certain businesses in low-lying areas, as phones are not always manned in the off-season. A photo posted on Facebook of the Hand’s department store in North Beach Haven Thursday morning showed flooding that appeared to be at door level, but the corporate office phone number had a message for a full voicemail box.

Bayfront in Beach Haven off Centre Street at the Black Whale dock, operators of the Miss Beach Haven fishing vessel responded to The SandPaper’s query by sending a message reporting “immense flooding and some debris floating” on Thursday morning from where they stood. “It looks like a lot of home/business owners who recently had to renovate their businesses/homes will be doing it again.”

However, there was immediate good news to report. A sampling: Regenerate, in the heart of Beach Haven, opened up Thursday morning as usual. Owners of Uncle Will’s Pancake House in Beach Haven had sandbagged the front of their restaurant, and the result was that “not a drop of water came in on our brand-new carpet,” they reported, and the re-opening from Superstorm Sandy will go on as scheduled Friday, March 8. Down Centre Street toward the beach, The Gables restaurant and inn was high and dry.

Atlantic City Electric has restored service to the majority of approximately 35,000 customers in southern New Jersey affected by the wintry mix of high wind and rain that hit the coast on Wednesday, March 6, the anniversary of the March 1962 storm, one of the most destructive storms to hit Long Beach Island.

On LBI there were just five outages, and these were in the process of being restored. Cape May and Atlantic counties bore the brunt of the storm, where high winds and tree limbs brought down poles and wires. During the height of the storm, service was interrupted to about 19,000 customers in parts of Ventnor, Margate and Longport and the southern end of Atlantic City. As of 1 p.m. Thursday, there were fewer than 700 customers out of service across the service territory.

Power should be restored to the majority of these customers by midnight tonight, said a representative of Pepco Holdings Inc., the parent company of Atlantic City Electric.

Maria Scandale, Pat Johnson and Juliet Kaszas-Hoch contributed to this story.

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