Coastal Flooding Concerns Jersey Shore Officials, Residents

By Lauren Wanko

Waves crashing ashore this morning in Bradley Beach covered the sand with a frigid mix of snow and surf.

“The ocean is very angry today. I stayed here last year for Sandy. The ocean is almost as rough as it was that day,” said Jim Quigley of Bradley Beach.

“I’m asking myself tell me again why I live in the Northeast here,” said Bradley Beach resident Rod Brennan.

Bradley Beach resident Brennan lives across the street from the ocean. Shoveling piles of snow is the least of his worries.

“I’m just really concerned had that wind stayed northeast and not switched. It switched west now. I’m really concerned my house would have been in jeopardy,” Brennan said.

Bradley Beach Public Works Director Richard Bianchi isn’t worried about coastal flooding during this winter storm.

“Our beachfront is designed with a bulk heading which protects us,” Bianchi said.

His team has been working around the clock.

“I got 30 hours in right now, so we’ve been here all night. We prepped the roads yesterday. We salted, we put about 75 tons down. Then we started plowing last night,” Bianchi said.

In Avon-by-the-Sea, one side street filled with icy water. Snow-covered Main Street was virtually empty. In Belmar, rockers swayed intensely on the boardwalk.

“The amount of snow that accumulated in town isn’t all that bad. What we were concerned about and are still concerned about is coastal flooding. Like every shore town that’s our main concern,” said Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty.

But as of late this afternoon, there was no coastal flooding in Belmar. Mayor Doherty credits the mile-long, temporary berm built on the beach this past fall.

“It held up really well to the wave action from last night and high tide so we’re happy with the condition of the town,” Doherty said.

Early morning shoveling replaced visits to the gym for many shore residents and snow blowers got a workout. Still, the bad weather isn’t bad news for everyone.

“This is a Christmas present in January,” said Taylor Hardware owner Joe Connor.

At Taylor Hardware, there’s been a steady stream of customers looking to buy everything from shovels and salt to snow blowers.

“We’re doing a lot of repairs on snow blowers. People forget to run their snow blower until they actually need to use it so today a lot of them are finding out that they don’t start,” Connor said.

The snow blower did start at the Tamaroff house this morning and the homeowners were happy to use it.

“I happen to love snow. I’m excited to be here. I have nowhere to go today,” said Bradley Beach resident Jill Tamaroff.

With the weekend upon us, it’s a sentiment shared by many residents along the shore.