ENVIRONMENT

As Snowstorm Approaches, Sandy Battered Residents Say Enough is Enough

By Lauren Wanko
NJ Today

It’s the last thing any Jersey shore town needs, another storm. Frustrated locals are fed up with mother nature.

For Wall Township resident Susan Mueller, enough is enough. “We’ve been through several storms and it’s taken a toll on quite a few families,” she said.

Others like Neptune Township resident Donovan Whyte are taking it in stride. “So far it has been good in terms of this winter, not much snow. So I am looking forward to it,” Whyte said.

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Today, beach communities are bracing for the worst.

“As long as it warms up and the snow melts quick, we’ll be fine but if it don’t then we’re going to be in trouble,” said Richard Bianchi, Jr., Bradley Beach’s Operating Supervisor of Public Works.

In Bradley Beach, crews race to demo the miniature golf course torn apart by the storm and strap down equipment and supplies, before tomorrow’s predicted high winds and snow.

“We’re trying to tighten everything up so we can, after the storm, come back there and start working there cause we only have three months till Memorial Day’s here,” said Bianchi. He thinks the beach is secure. “We have a quarter of a mile of the dune project already started with trees in them, so let the sand blow. We’re ready for it down there.”

And then there are the temporary sand barrier, constructed after the storm, specifically for protection against nor’easters. It stretches the entire beachfront, just over a mile — 10 feet tall and 20 feet wide.

In Belmar, preparations for the storm are already underway, between the thunderous sound of the boardwalk pilings being driven into the sand and the four pumps behind me, pumping out thousands of gallons of water from Lake Como into the Atlantic Ocean. The mayor says the town is ready for tomorrow’s nor’easter.

“The outflow pipe is broken since the hurricane so the only way to get the water out of the lakes is to pump it out for right now in anticipation of whatever storm event we have whether it’s rain or snow,” explained Mayor Matthew Doherty.

Today, teams add snow fencing in the hopes of keeping the sand on the beach, and temporary sand dunes are expected to protect oceanfront homes. Farther down Ocean Avenue, crews are ahead of schedule on the boardwalk reconstruction and it seems as though a winter storm won’t get in their way. Contractors are on duty tomorrow.

“Regarding the equipment, they’re only going to use what’s necessary, and what’s not necessary will be strapped down and secured,” said Doherty.

Whatever mother nature brings tomorrow, these shore communities are determined to keep moving forward.