Storm has mixed effects on southern New Jersey beaches

Geotubes are exposed even more by the effects of former Hurricane Earl at New Jersey Avenue in Atlantic City on Saturday. Photo by: Anthony Smedile

By STEVEN LEMONGELLO Staff Writer | Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday’s brilliant blue skies revealed little major damage to area beaches in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Earl, which was a hurricane when it passed by the New Jersey coast on Friday afternoon.

Most beach patrols reported minor erosion, if any, mostly damage to already eroded beaches.

“We really dodged a bullet on this one,” said Brigantine Beach Patrol Chief Bob Guenther. “We anticipated a lot more flood tides and higher levels of water from tidal surges. But the tide was high by 3 p.m., and by 3:30 the tide had gone out. The wind helped, pushing the tide back out.”

“Things meshed together to keep barrier islands from being flooded out,” Guenther said.

At the surfing beach at New Jersey Avenue in Atlantic City, geotubes meant to capture and stabilize beach sand were displaced by Earl’s tides.

“That beach had no dunes anyway,” Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Rod Aluise said. “Some steps washed away, and there was some additional damage at States Avenue.”

On parts of Long Beach Island, meanwhile, the storm may actually have replenished the beach somewhat.

“We anticipate that the storm, along with last weekend’s storm, moved a lot of sand up out of the sand bars and onto the beaches,” Long Beach Township Beach Patrol Chief Don Myers said. “As soon as the weather calms down, we’ll have the best-looking beaches all summer.

In Ocean City, modest waves lapped the beaches at 59th Street where the 10th Annual Marie A. Becker Memorial Longboard Contest kicked off with about 100 participants.

“Right now the waves look OK, but nothing big, “ said Ricky Sanchez of Pleasantville, waiting to surf in Corsons Inlet State Park on the other side of the jetty from the competition. “They are just closing out very quick. I’ve gotta figure out some way of getting speed and getting on the face of the wave.”

In Ventnor, Beach Patrol Capt. Bill Howarth said that due Friday’s tide, “We lost a lot of beach from one end to the other. But nothing prevented us from opening up today.”

“It could have been worse,” Howarth added. “It’s not really as bad as we thought. Tides always come up to the dunes on one side of the pier and to the bulkheads on the other side. But most of the day is low tide anyway, so there will be plenty of room for everybody.”

On the beach at Newport Avenue in Ventnor, Paul Menno, of Winslow Township, Camden County, said the high water helped pack the beach down.

“It’s nice, “ Menno said. “The water came up so far, it kept the sand down. Even though it’s getting windy today, you’re not getting sandblasted.”

The gusty winds was all that prevented Saturday from being the perfect beach day. At Bartram Avenue in Atlantic City, the winds toppled a lifeguard stand and injured a lifeguard’s hand,” Aluise said.

In Ventnor, however, one beachgoer saw the gusts as an opportunity.

“We haven’t had the chance to fly the kite this summer,” said Renee Vennera, of Ventnor, holding 2-year-old son Renzo in one hand as 4-year-old Sandro tried to maneuver their monster-decorated kite. “It’s gorgeous, beautiful. I’m so glad we’re here. I think some people didn’t come down and are going to be really disappointed they didn’t.”

Beautiful weather is forecast to continue through the holiday weekend, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s expected.

Elsewhere, Massachusetts suffered a few hundred power outages, a handful of downed power lines and isolated flooding. Maine saw rain and churning surf, but no gusts strong enough to produce damage.

After skimming past both North Carolina and Massachusetts, Earl finally made landfall Saturday morning near Western Head, Nova Scotia, toppling some trees and knocking out power to more than 200,000 customers in Nova Scotia.

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