For a state still skittish of storm warnings ever since Superstorm Sandy, Hermine came at us like a tempest in a teapot by comparison. NJTV News Correspondent Erin Delmore has been up and down the coast for the past two days. She was in Point Pleasant Beach and spoke with Anchor Mary Alice Williams.
Williams: Hi Erin. What can you tell us?
Delmore: Mary Alice, the sun is shining, the air is warm, but as you can see behind me, this is no typical day at the beach. Certainly not the crowds we’re used to seeing on Labor Day weekend. As you can see, this whole stretch of sand behind me is deserted and we’re right across from the boardwalk here at Jenkinsons Point Pleasant. That’s because this state spent much of the holiday weekend under the threat of post-tropical cyclone Hermine. But that storm inflicted damage that was much less than expected.
A sigh of relief along the Jersey Shore as Hermine weakened to a post-tropical cyclone and skirted eastward, out to sea.
“We’ve been down here all summer and the waves are pretty rough right now, as rough as it has been since we’ve been here. It did a little damage. We were expecting a lot more, but we didn’t get it. I don’t think we got it,” said Philadelphia resident William Patrone.
The storm threatened to whip the Jersey Shore, parts of New York City and Long Island with hurricane-force winds over Labor Day weekend after drenching the East Coast from Florida to Virginia, downing power lines, flooding roadways and claiming two lives. Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency in Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties.
The National Hurricane Center lifted a tropical storm warning along New Jersey’s shoreline. A coastal flood advisory remains in effect through Tuesday morning.
“We did a lot of prepping all week long. We handed out, probably about 500 sandbags out yesterday to local residents to protect their houses in case we did have flooding,” said Bill Hibell, coordinator of the Seaside Heights Office of Emergency Management.
But this area — devastated by Superstorm Sandy four years ago — was largely spared. In Atlantic City, beach erosion brought on by the high tide left just a sliver of sand for Monday morning beachgoers.
“We just ate breakfast and I said, look how short the sand is, because this was out further, so it is up a lot. It’s normally back further. You could tell there’s a storm here now. My hair’s blowing all over the place, as you can see,” Patrone said.
“Yeah we were worried that the flood might come up and so we moved the umbrellas and chairs to another place. We were worried about some of that,” said beachgoer Richard Delaney.
“I think it’s probably going to come up a lot higher since the storm’s passing by, but it’s still pretty nice. I mean, I’m still enjoying the beach,” said Flanders resident Chandni Panchao.
On Long Beach Island, fishing, sailing and kayaking on Barnegat Bay.
“There really hasn’t been much of a change at all. It’s been kind of a no-show, this hurricane,” said Tuckerton resident Andrew Finelli.
Is he relieved?
“Yeah, I think it’s kind of sad though because I have a lot of friends that have businesses around here and they lost a lot of money this weekend. It’s been desolate out here,” he said.
Across the island, swimming is a no-go. Red flags fly above the lifeguard stands all down the beach at Ship Bottom.
“We’re really not supposed to let anyone in the water at all. All it takes is one wave to come in and knock you off your feet and then you’re down the beach, so it’s not really safe conditions to be out in the water,” said Tyler Ciaccio, lifeguard for the Ship Bottom Beach Patrol. “It’s definitely really rough conditions. Very, very powerful rips. They’ll take you right out, especially today because the storm I guess moved farther east so it’s not really hitting us but definitely a big groundswell coming through.”
Still not enough to keep these New Jerseyans from catching a few scattered rays on this last weekend of summer.
“But look, there’s people just as crazy as us that want to come for one last time, right?” said West Milford resident Vicki Herman.
Delmore: Beaches along the Jersey Shore are reopening, but as you can see from this sign behind me, this beach in Point Pleasant is still closed. And lifeguards all along the beach are saying no swimming likely through the end of the week. That’s because these waves behind me are taking the effect of post-tropical cyclone Hermine, which is churning up waves and they say deadly rip currents.
Williams: What have the residents been telling you Erin?
Delmore: You know, the refrain among residents here has been unanimous. People are telling me over and over it’s not Sandy. The mayor of Seaside Heights and his police chief told me that their residents are filled with what he called a righteous nervousness. He told me that 68 percent of his town was under water after Sandy. Residents were moving their cars to high ground, they were securing lawn furniture. They were getting ready to hunker down. I talked to residents who had go-bags ready in case they needed to evacuate. Of course that storm was not Sandy.
Williams: OK, thank you Erin.