The flood waters rose during three perilous high tides as a nor’easter made its way through the region Friday and Saturday, but Atlantic County’s shore towns escaped with little damage to businesses and homes, locals reported Monday.
In Brigantine, Mayor Phil Guenther said that the worst flooding was on the bay side and in the “usual areas that are low-lying.”
“The wind created some issues with pushing debris toward our island,” he said, adding that marsh grass clogged up the drainage systems and the streets. “All of it was cleaned up and we are functioning well.”
There was little snow accumulation during the storm, which for many on the mainland will be remembered as a historic blizzard. However, the beach did take a hit.
“We did have some significant beach erosion from north of the sea wall to about Ninth Street south. We are working at this time to quantify what the losses are with the Richard Stockton Coastal Research Center,” Guenther said.
The city’s last beach replenishment project, part of a 50-year agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers, was in the winter of 2013 after Hurricane Sandy. According to the Army Corp’s project factsheet, the next nourishment cycle isn’t anticipated until 2019.
Guenther said that city manager Ed Stinson was reaching out to the Army Corps for an update on when another beach fill will occur. He said the sea wall itself sustained no significant damage.
“We did have some scouring of some sand in front of the sea wall, but that is an oceanfront structure so it’s designed to do exactly what it did,” he said.
Guenther said there was no damage to the city’s infrastructure and praised the city’s public safety and public works departments, as well as the emergency management officials, for their efforts during the nor’easter.
In Margate, photos of flooding were being shared on social media and touted by the governor as evidence of the city’s need for dunes. But residents and business owners there begged to differ.
Margate Business Association President Ed Berger said he reached out to his members on Monday, many of whom reported little to no effects.
“In some cases it was a little mop up, but no damage,” he said. “Casel’s opened Saturday and Sunday. The Greenhouse was open Saturday with some locals drinking.
“By and large, everybody’s in pretty good shape,” Berger said.
Berger said Amherst Avenue was totally flooded, but Atlantic Avenue was fine. He said the city did a great job in keeping the barrier island safe, despite reports.
“We, unfortunately, were swept up with the broad stroke of what was being painted of the Jersey Shore,” Berger said, citing the flooding sustained from Sea Isle City to Wildwood.
“We dodged a bullet, we truly did.”
Ventnor Mayor Mike Bagnell said his city is still gathering totals for emergency response, but said the damage was nowhere near what Hurricane Sandy brought for the city in 2012.
“We held up pretty good,” he said. “The dunes didn’t get damaged; the beach got eroded away. The water got up to the dunes, but it didn’t breach.”
On the bayside and in Ventnor Heights there was tidal flooding, which caused the Dorset Avenue Bridge to close for a few hours on Saturday.
“This was far less than Sandy,” Bagnell said.
Michael Einwechter co-owner of Ventnor Coffee on Dorset Avenue, had to close his business Saturday and Sunday, but said he didn’t sustain any damage. The neighboring storefronts, which sit lower, had about a foot of water, he said.
“It’s nothing as crazy as what you’re seeing in Sea Isle City, but it’s still devastating,” Einwechter said.
He said that as he opened up shop on Monday, everyone had a tale to tell.
“Everybody’s talking about it. Some people are talking about they’re so glad they raised their house, there’s other people who hadn’t raised their house yet and wished they’d done it sooner … we’re hearing a lot of different perspectives,” he said.