SEA BRIGHT, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Officials on Tuesday were assessing the damage along the Jersey Shore after a nor’easter brought powerful winds and heavy rain and what some say was the worst flooding since Superstorm Sandy.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, the storm died down on Tuesday off Fort Avenue in Ortley Beach. But it left an 8- to 10-foot drop. Ortley Beach is a part of northern Ocean County where the federal beach replenishment project has yet to be completed.
A temporary protective berm was completely eaten way by powerful tides, as was the staircase leading down to the beach.
The bay side of the barrier island took a beating as well.
Norman and Lucy Scheer drove over to Fielder Avenue in Ortley Beach to have a look for themselves.
“For the last few years, there’s been very little beach here, so we were curious to see if it had actually broken through again,” Norman Scheer said. “This neighborhood was really hit hard during Sandy.”
On Monday night, winds in excess of 60 mph powered by the ocean pummeled the coast. A day later, it was much calmer.
“The wind has shifted, you know, it’s not coming down off the ocean now. It’s coming out of the west,” said Lucy Scheer. “We have a friend who’s a lifeguard over here in the summer time – they’ve been really worried whether they’re going to have any beach left.”
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sent coastal engineers to survey the shoreline.
“No significant structural damage to any homes or infrastructures, and that is key,” said William Dixon, director of the Division of Coastal Engineering for the NJDEP.
“It was quite scary,” said Jane Mahoney of Mantoloking. “The wind was just howling and relentless wind driving rain sideways, so it was nonstop hours of nonstop rain and win.”
Route 35 South and back bay streets were flooded from Normandy Beach south to Ortley.
“The ocean high tide – the back bay high tides are couple hours later. And that’s what we’re experiencing now — the back bay high tide. If wind doesn’t allow water out of the Mantoloking, you know, the inlets, then this is what happens,” said Pat O’Shea.
Ortley Beach is commonly referred to as the war zone of Sandy. The town does not have protective dunes – that project is set to start this spring.
Flooding and beach erosion were also seen elsewhere along the Jersey Shore.
Just north on the barrier island, the sea wall was exposed in Brick Township. But homes were kept dry.
Farther north on the shore early Tuesday morning, roads flooded early Tuesday morning in Sea Bright as water swelled with the high tide.
“My neighbor said it this is the worst it’s been in 20 years, except for Sandy,” resident David Greenwald told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
Police shut down Ocean Avenue from Sandy Hook right down to Monmouth Beach, 1010 WINS’ John Montone reported.
But stuck in the middle of Ocean Avenue was Danna Marie Catalano’s sport-utility vehicle. On her way to her healthcare job, she went for it and sorely misjudged the stream in the street.
“It was 5:25 and it was super, super dark and I just got stuck immediately,” she said. “I had a guardian angel come. This man came, popped me in his car. Didn’t know who he was, don’t know his name and you got me home. I’m thankful for that.”
Residents of the small town covered in water, ranging from puddles to quick moving streams, were at the mercy of time.
“It’s low tide right now so we’re just waiting for it to empty out,” said resident George Weiss. “It’s a waiting game.”
When the water finally receded on Ocean Avenue, a deserted blue BMW was left in the middle of the road. It was towed away with water pouring out from the exhaust pipe.
The Beach Haven police department posted photos on its Facebook page showing flooded roadways at 8th Street and Bay Avenue and on Taylor Avenue.
Even more flooding could be seen in Stone Harbor in the area of Sunset Drive at the peak of high tide.
Utilities have restored electricity to all but 2,100 customers statewide.
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