Even miles offshore, Hurricane Jose had a significant impact on areas of South Jersey.
Though downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm, Jose still caused rough seas that tore away at beaches and flooding that affected the barrier islands and mainland.
Emergency crews worked Wednesday between Second and Fifth avenues in North Wildwood to repair dunes on the battered beaches.
“Last night, at the high tide, the waves crashing into the northeast section of town, where I’ve lived for 40 years, they were the biggest waves I’ve seen,” North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said.
“They were coming straight over a 12-foot-high seawall. ... It just took out our dunes system significantly,” Rosenello said.
The Cape May County Office of Emergency Management said many towns have an emergency maintenance permit with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corp of Engineers, allowing for local public works crews to move sand and re-inforce dune systems.
“Moving forward, our intention is to not try to put sand back there immediately” Rosenello said. “We’re going to try to get in there with some hard structures, some boulders where the seawall ends.”
Cape May County OEM head Martin Pagliughi said a county survey showed North Wildwood was hit the worst.
“All the island towns had some extent of beach erosion,” Pagliughi said.
Avalon and Stone Harbor completed a beach-fill project in the spring, which will help as hurricane season continues, according to Pagliughi. Ocean City is scheduled to begin a north-end beach-replenishment project between Seaspray Road and 14th Street in the fall.
Ocean City spokesman Doug Bergen said a start date has not been announced for the project, but any storm damage and sand loss will be factored in when the replenishment begins.
While the damage from the offshore storm was a surprise for many, areas that previously suffered, even during the smallest of storms, fared better during Jose.
In Atlantic City, Noel Feliciano, owner of One Stop Bait and Tackle on Atlantic Avenue, said the several jetties and a recently constructed seawall helped keep the storm back.
“The new seawall is awesome,” Feliciano said. “That helped us out a lot. And whatever is new, the Boardwalk construction and dunes, are still there.”
During Hurricane Sandy, Feliciano said his store was flooded with 18 inches of water that came through the cracked bulkhead at Atlantic Avenue. Since the 2012 storm, the city began several flood-prevention projects and the $50 million expansion of the Boardwalk in the South Inlet.
Feliciano said street flooding that occurred with Jose was from the back bays.
Further down Absecon Island, Atlantic City and Egg Harbor Township police officers blocked flooded portions of Route 40. R.C. Richardson, 27, who is living in one of the West Atlantic City motels told The Press his room was completely flooded. “The water was so high, the parking lot was full of water. It would pour in if your opened your door,” Richardson said.
Management of the motel could not be reached for comment on the flooding as of Wednesday night.
Officials with the American Red Cross said no aid was issued for areas of Atlantic or Cape May counties, which is either authorized by local law enforcement or emergency management.
According to the National Weather Service, Atlantic hurricane season continues until Nov. 30.