Many Jersey Shore beaches get hit hard by weekend storm

By ERIC SCOTT CAMPBELL and DONNA WEAVER Press of AC Staff Writers | Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010 |

A 2-to-3-foot cliff shows signs of erosion at the 82nd Street beach in Long Beach Township. Deputy Police Chief Leslie Houston said Sunday afternoon that she had not received any reports of erosion, but Public Works employees had not been out to assess the beaches.

At the height of this weekend’s storm, for the first time in years, Tom Foley saw waves breaking under the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.

“We had tremendous beach erosion,” Atlantic County’s emergency management director said, citing Connecticut Avenue to Virginia Avenue as the hardest-hit area. Erosion has been a chronic problem there.

By the time a federal beach replenishment project gets under way in 2011, Foley said, “we’re just not going to have those beaches available. They’re just totally destroyed.”

There were no immediate reports of beach breaches leading to flooding, however, Foley said.

Cape May County spokeswoman Lenora Boninfante said erosion did not produce any known emergencies, of which the county already had more than its fair share.

“At this point, the focus is on restoring power and clearing roads and bridges,” Boninfante said. “Once the snow passes and everything is back in place, towns will be checked for damage.”

Officials from municipalities across Long Beach Island reported no significant beach erosion.

Bill Tromm, Beach Haven’s emergency management coordinator, said a small amount of erosion was seen on the beach at Merivale Avenue, an area known for eroding during storms. Borough officials appropriated $150,000 for emergency work to be done to the beaches after a coastal storm in November.

Long Beach Township Deputy Police Chief Leslie Houston said Sunday afternoon that she had not received any reports of erosion, but Public Works employees had not been out to assess the beaches. “We should know something tomorrow,” she said.

Meanwhile, 26 beaches on the southern end of Long Beach Township remained closed, cordoned off with yellow police tape, some of it wind-whipped and torn from the storm.

In Surf City, where beaches were replenished in a $6 million beachfill project, the 15th Street beach was eroded, and dune fencing was ripped out of the sand. Mayor Leonard T. Connors said he received no reports of erosion on borough beaches but said he will meet with the police Chief William Collins today to assess beach damage.

Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck said he also has received no reports of erosion or damage to the beaches. “A couple weeks ago, we lost some dune in some areas due to erosion. But I haven’t heard anything about this storm,” Huelsenbeck said.

Harvey Cedars Mayor Jonathan Oldham said he was happy that a beachfill project was taking place on the borough beaches after this weekend’s storm. Oldham said he received no reports of damage to borough beaches, adding that Public Works employees were preoccupied this weekend with getting roads clear.

On Friday, Steve Rochette, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the Harvey Cedars project, which was supposed to be completed next month, will be completed in May due to delays in the work schedule because of the bad weather.

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