Some Residents Fear Storm; Others Don't
Long Beach Island has suffered many devastating storms, including the infamous nor’easters in 1962 and 1992, among others. But many more natural disasters have come and gone, leaving the barrier island practically unscathed. Last year’s Hurricane Irene, for example, fizzled out after what seemed, to many local residents, like much ado over nothing. As Hurricane Sandy swooped in on Monday, many people feared things would be a bit more detrimental this time around.
“I just saw pictures of Ship Bottom, and the water is already halfway up the stop signs even though it's supposed to be low tide right now,” said Joe Mayo, 27, an LBI resident who was riding out the storm with his brother in Manahawkin. “We still have four more tides to worry about, and the storm is four hours away. Things are going to get a lot worse,” he added.
Before heading to the mainland yesterday, after receiving word about a mandatory evacuation, Mayo said he did what he could to protect his personal belongings, including piling his clothes and electronics on his counters and beds, in the hope of avoiding flood damage. He said he even grabbed his father’s Mac computer and the last remaining jug of water stashed at the Re/Max of Long Beach Island office, located in Ship Bottom, where he and his father work as real estate agents.
Jim Kelley of Brighton at Barnegat, a 55-plus community in the Pinelands of Ocean County, said he, too, saw pictures of the excessive flooding already occurring on the Island – a sight he said made him glad to be with his family in Warren Grove. Though many Brighton residents decided to stay in the park, Kelley said Hurricane Sandy appeared to be a “dangerous storm” people should be taking seriously.
But Kelley’s son-in-law, Doug Raylman, who stopped at Super Fresh in Manahawkin yesterday morning to stock up on food and water, said he thought the storm might not be as terrible as expected.
“The store didn’t seem too crazy yesterday. I was prepared for a madhouse, but it didn’t really seem like people were getting that upset,” Raylman remarked. “There’s a lot of hype, and the media is saying this is a totally different storm than Irene. I think they’re trying to make sure people are prepared because they kind of dropped the ball on that the last time,” he added.
Raylman’s two daughters, Kristina, 13, and Emily, 10, said they didn’t think the storm was a big deal and were just happy to be out of school for a few days.
“I’m glad we don’t have to go to school because I have a lot of homework to do,” said Kristina. “I don’t think I would have gotten it all done because I have so much, so I’m glad to have the extra days to do it.
“The storm is fun. I think it’s exciting because if the power goes out, we get to use candles and flashlights. That’s fun because we don’t get to do it a lot. I don’t like that it’s gross outside, but I’m inside so it doesn’t really bother me,” she added.
Manahawkin resident Eileen Francis said she wasn’t really worried about the storm, either. She and her husband, Ron, already had most of the staples stocked in their home and have never experienced any flooding during any of the area’s past storms.
“We’re prepared, and we’re not too worried about any real damage, but I keep watching the news reports on TV, which make me nervous. It’s like a car accident; I can’t help but look,” she said with a laugh. “They said it was a good idea to fill the bathtub with water, in case we lose access to drinking water. So the bathtub is full of water to use for bathing or for boiling water for cooking. I don’t know what else to do. There’s only so much you can control, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”