An early morning storm struck Cumberland County’s Delaware Bay communities Friday, further damaging an area still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
The Downe Township communities of Money Island, Gandy’s Beach and Fortescue and Matts Landing in Maurice River Township were ravaged by heavy winds, high tides and 10- to 15-foot seas, Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein said.
Cumberland County emergency management officials said Gandy’s Beach was again hit the hardest, with water “completely washing out” Cove Road, he said. Cove Road is the small community’s only street. Sections of Cove Road needed significant repairs after Hurricane Sandy.
Cumberland County made $70,000 worth of repairs to a section of Matts Landing Road after Sandy.
Freeholder Tony Surace said a dike maintained by the state Department of Environmental Protection was breached during Friday’s fast-moving storm. Water topped Matts Landing Road, washing away most of the repair work, he said.
Municipalities along the Delaware Bay and county government have already spent millions of dollars in clean-up and repair operations caused by Hurricane Sandy. Officials said those efforts are stretching their budgets.
However, county government on Friday “deployed resources to assist the local municipalities in shoring up roadways, debris removal,” Freeholder Bill Whelan said. The county will also offer “any other assistance it can provide,” he said.
Some roads near the communities damaged by the storm will be closed for an undetermined amount of time, county officials said. They asked that people not bypass roadblocks and other barriers until those roads are reopened.
Meanwhile, Atlantic City Electric reported that the storm left about 2,500 Cumberland County residents without power on Friday morning. About 2,200 of those outages were located around Millville and south to Maurice River Township, according to the utility.
Atlantic City Electric also reported about 750 storm-related outages in Galloway and Hamilton townships in Atlantic County.
Police in Vineland also reported several trees down in the roadway at Chestnut and Carpy avenues, Sherman Avenue and Wendy Lane, and at Menantico and Lincoln avenues.
Hurricane Sandy left parts of Cumberland County’s Delaware Bay communities in shambles.
Waves and floodwater destroyed at least 20 homes, while some residences just fell into the bay. The storm also shattered protected steel bulkheads, especially in Gandy’s Beach, and left tons of sand covering roadways.
Officials said Downe Township alone suffered at least $30 million in damage. The bulk of the destruction occurred in Fortescue, Gandy’s Beach and Money Island, they said.
Damage from Sandy in the rest of Cumberland County was less extensive, with cleanup operations primarily involved dealing with leaves, broken branches and a few downed trees.
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