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Toms River, Brick Township Ask Residents To Evacuate As Storm Approaches

Officials Continue Warning Those In Low-Lying Areas To Seek Higher Ground
Dunes in Brick, New Jersey (credit: CBS 2)

Dunes in Brick, New Jersey (credit: CBS 2)

LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Jersey Shore isn’t finished recovering from Superstorm Sandy, but Mother Nature doesn’t care.

Another significant storm is bearing down on areas still vulnerable from the catastrophic one in October.

Toms River and Brick Township issued voluntary evacuation notices Tuesday as what will likely be a two-day storm approached.

A coastal flood watch is in effect for the entire Jersey Shore from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday evening, along with a high-wind warning for sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of up to 60 mph.

Any snow likely will be wet and heavy, possibly bringing down trees or limbs and causing power outages.

The mayor of Brick has been using an ATV to warn residents on the beach and back bay areas to voluntarily evacuate, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

“If they’re in a low-lying area or they’re on the barrier island, we’re really asking them seek higher ground,” Mayor Stephen Acropolis said.

Despite the dunes, officials said the 7-to-15-foot waves expected with this storm could go right over them.

“These are dunes that are just sand. They’re not entrenched with vegetation or sand fencing or anything like that. So they’re not as strong as a normal dune would be,” Acropolis told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

The mayor said emergency crews are on standby.

“We are staging some high-wheeled vehicles down here. Some deuce-and-a-halfs, some front-end loaders just in the off-chance we have some run-overs where people need some help. We want to make sure we take that precaution now,” Acropolis said.

The Department of Public Works in Brick has built up the dunes — measuring 20-feet-high by 30-feet-wide — along the beachfront.

“We believe we’re pretty well protected from the ocean, but obviously anything can happen with the storm,” said Sgt. Keith Reinhard. “Prior to Sandy, we would put out some of these warnings and many people would go, but because of what happened I think many people are more prepared.”

While the city has urged residents to evacuate, some residents like Anthony Esposito said they have no plans of going anywhere.

“I stayed during Superstorm Sandy and I’m still standing here, so I’ll be here,” Esposito said. “I’m not leaving, no.”

Most of the houses on the barrier island are still vacant due to Sandy, Haskell reported.

Some homeowners, like Conrad Paulis, have been lucky enough to receive an insurance check.

“Contractor’s doing a good job, and I’ll maybe be able to move into my house in two or three weeks, perhaps,” she told Adams.

But first she’ll have to contend with this latest storm, which could send floodwaters to her storage unit in the driveway, which is full of antiques.

Contractor Mike Colier said he has been repairing homes there for 120 straight days.

“I have some stuff on the ground. We’re almost done in there. You know, we gutted it. And we’re going to secure as much as we can, you know. Make sure it’s out of the way of the tide. It came up last Wednesday also. It came up, oh, about a foot on the fence, but I think this is going to be worse.”

In Sea Bright, they’re expecting the flooding to come from the river side, not the ocean. The beach was recently replenished.

“These storms cause severe erosion and so, on our newly replenished beach, we’ve already seen loss of the front profile,” Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long said. “The good news is most of that sand sits off shore and a steady west wind will bring a lot of it back.”

There is still a 20-foot-tall mountain of sand in front of the municipal parking lot and new playground is surrounded by a 8-foot mound of sand.

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