Barnegat Light Spared From Worst of Hurricane

Nov 01, 2012

On Long Beach Island's north end, Barnegat Light's wide dunes are credited with standing up to Sandy. The borough "was essentially spared" compared to areas farther south, officials assessed.

"That's what saved Barnegat Light, the multi-layer of dunes," remarked Dave Bossi, borough councilman in charge of public works, whose residence is on Third Street at the north end, where the dunes extend three-quarters of a mile. "We have two or three sets of dunes everywhere in town," he said.

Boosting the topography, the Boy Scouts plant dune grass that helps stabilize the sands, and the town's public works department uses fencing in a constructive way, Bossi said.

"As the dune fills up, the public works crews put up more snow fencing to the east of that, so it builds up another set of dunes."

Bossi was speaking to The SandPaper from Nantucket, Mass., where he evacuated. He has been able to contact borough crews with "full computer access"  from Massachusetts, he said.

In Barnegat Light, flood waters covered "from Bay Avenue to Central," Bossi said,"but did not reach the hundred-year-flood mark that FEMA uses. The condos at Fifth Street were built inches above that, and it appears that it did not reach that mark."

On the borough's web site, a bulletin lists damage as reported by Fire Chief Keith Anderson.

"The Barnegat Light Volunteer Fire Department chief has reported that Barnegat Light was essentially spared as compared to anything south of 30th Street. Oceanside homes suffered no water damage, just some spotty wind effects. Bayside homes may have suffered some flooding depending on location, but no obvious structural damage," the report says.

The only places that the ocean breached the dunes were two places where it could have been "fully expected," Bossi added. That was at 30th Street, where it is open for beach access, and at Fourth Street and Central, where the beach entrance is open for emergency beach access, he said.

Photos on Facebook the day after the storm showed the area of Andy's at the Light at the inlet to be flooded.

At Viking Village commerical fishing dock, word that had been relayed to Bossi from Mayor Kirk Larson indicated that damage was not major. (Larson's cell phone could not be reached by The SandPaper.)

"He said it was 2 inches above the Halloween storm (of 1991); Ernie (Panacek) has a mark on the wall."

The town was not without the utility hazards that plagued the rest of the Island, still, on the third day after the storm. "Gas is the biggest issue, and there are still some power lines down," Bossi said. Telephone communication was still out, and cell phone coverage was sporadic. The borough was, however, temporarily supplying water to a harder-hit community farther south.

"We're feeding water to Harvey Cedars; they were getting a new pump," Bossi said.

Two Department of Public Works employees were being sent home to get a break on Thursday, the councilman said. "They got the town cleaned up."

— Maria Scandale


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