When the skies cleared and floodwaters had receded, the damage along the South Jersey barrier islands was so catastrophic that it was on the level of a tsunami.

  • Long Beach Island was split into three, with new inlets formed in Harvey Cedars and in Holgate.
  • The center section of Steel Pier in Atlantic City was demolished after a wayward barge crashed into it. The tank from the famed diving horse attraction washed up on the beach in Ventnor.
  • Fires burned in Ocean City and Wildwood, often sparked by damaged gas mains; firefighters could not reach the blazes because of floodwaters.
  • Flooding swamped mainland communities near tidal waterways.
  • Multiple large ships, including a Navy warship that was being towed to Philadelphia, were driven ashore by the storm.
  • Roads that flooded during the storm were covered with sand several feet deep; photographs show Atlantic Avenue in Margate buried under four feet of sand.
  • Sections of the boardwalks in Atlantic City and Ventnor were left in ruins.
  • Residents on many barrier islands were evacuated during the storm, or immediately after, by helicopter.
  • Floodwaters swamped thousands of cars on barrier islands, including those in car dealerships in Ocean City, destroying them.
  • The ocean and the bay met in the center of many barrier islands, including Brigantine, Long Beach Island, Absecon Island, Ocean City, Sea Isle City and Wildwood.
  • Sections of roads that had been under water were washed away or severely undermined.
  • Entire houses collapsed or were pushed by the tide into neighboring properties.
  • Gas leaks and broken water and sewer mains were common as flooding shifted the sand in which pipes were buried, causing pipes to break.
  • Four municipal officials on Long Beach Island were killed after their truck was swept away in floodwaters.
  • Information from The Press of Atlantic City archives, Great Storms of the Jersey Shore and interviews with residents who lived through it