A view from the air Tuesday showed the scope of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy over the previous 24 hours.
Boats are scattered so haphazardly around a marshy Barnegat Bay island across from Beach Haven that, by air, it looks like a child emptied a toy box. Blocks and blocks of the southern end of Long Beach Island are filled with water, debris, sand and more boats, some of which now lay in the middle of streets.
Long Beach Boulevard, for nearly the entire length of the island, is covered with water and sand. Multiple streets clearly were temporary inlets between the bay and the ocean during the height of the storm Monday, with sand from once-protective dunes deposited down the road, in yards and in the bay on the other side.
By air, the damage and devastation along parts of the South Jersey coast is nearly identical to aerial photographs taken after the March Storm of 1962 and the December Storm of 1992. The only difference along Long Beach Island, Brigantine, Absecon Island, Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle City, is that few, if any, houses were rocked off their foundation.
A reason for that could be the dramatic changes in building codes since 1962, which require beach block houses to be built on driven pilings. However, the beaches in nearly every spot of the South Jersey coast have narrowed or been washed back to boardwalks or the vestiges of dunes. And much of that sand has washed into streets or back out to sea.
Fishing piers in Ocean City, Margate and Ventnor all appear to have survived the storm intact. The only major boardwalk damage occurred in Atlantic City, particularly in the inlet section, where several blocks of the walkway, which already was significantly deteriorated before the storm, have either washed away completely or are left in shards.
LONG BEACH ISLAND:
The hardest hit of all the South Jersey barrier islands, Long Beach Island has several breaches in the island, with just a bit of sand now remaining above the water, at the far southern end in the wildlife refuge section. A few oceanfront houses in the southern part of Holgate suffered major damage, and sand fills the beach block streets.
Several Beach Haven marinas have severe boat damage and floating docks now lay strewn along the bay front. Streets still are almost completely flooded in many parts of Long Beach Island and sand has filled in nearly every beach block in every municipality. But there is little sign, at least from a distance, that houses suffered major structural damage.
Ship Bottom is mostly flooded and National Guard vehicles were seen driving up and down major roads. Harvey Cedars has nearly all streets covered with large amounts of sand and still some flooded areas, as is also the case in Loveladies. The marina for the Barnegat Light fishing fleet appears to have little major damage and the fishing boats that were in harbor seem to have little damage from afar.
Flooding still persists throughout much of Brigantine, with the worst of the water covering bayside streets and properties on the north end of the island. Significant amounts of sand cover the beach blocks near 15th Street South.
Beaches have narrowed substantially along nearly the entire length of Atlantic City’s ocean front, with the ocean lapping up almost at the edge of the remaining amount of dunes. Dunes in front of much of the Boardwalk between Steel Pier and Bally’s are almost gone and the lot that once to be the Sands casino still remains flooded
Floodwaters throughout much of the city have receded. Some of the docks at Gardner’s Basin and along the back bay front now lie askew and
A block-long section of boardwalk along the inlet section is gone, with much of the rest of the boardwalk in that section suffering major damage to the walkway. Rock that had been laid as a shore engineering project near Revel now lays exposed.
Dunes that were built earlier this year appear to be intact and the Ventnor fishing pier appears undamaged. The library seems to be its own island now, surrounded by floodwaters that have yet to recede.
Sand and water cover nearly every block along the city’s beachfront and many parts of the low-lying neighborhoods west of Ventnor Avenue still have standing water in them. Lucy the Elephant is still standing, though the structure has a large amount of sand surrounding it.
From the air, the damage in Longport seems confined to mostly sand washing into the streets and some residual flooding. However, the beaches narrowed further and what dunes did exist in the borough’s northern end suffered obvious wash-over.
Beachfront houses along the southernmost blocks of Ocean City now stand on piling on the beach – the dunes that once served as a formidable barrier are gone.
Ocean City’s beach along Ninth Street, one of the busiest stretches of waterfront during the summer, has eroded to the Boardwalk, with little remaining of protective dunes built as part of a shoreline protection system. Floodwaters still linger in much of Ocean City’s north end, particularly near 9th, 8th, 7th and 6th streets, with water nearly surrounding the high school. The boardwalk, however, appears to be fully intact.
North end Ocean City beaches have dunes that eroded down to the geotubes, which are massive sand-bag like structures build beneath sand dunes. The beach patrol headquarters at First Street now stands with water crashing beneath part of the building.
The beach communities of Upper Township, including Whale Beach and parts of Strathmere, appear to have spent much of Monday under water, with the ocean meeting the bay. However, the houses, at least by air, appear to be standing.
Wildwood’s beach, famed for its girth prior to Sandy’s arrive, has narrowed considerably, backed by acres of standing water between amusement piers. North Wildwood appears to have suffered severe beach erosion, particularly near Hereford Inlet.