By Lauren Wanko
You couldn’t walk down many of Sea Bright’s side streets this morning without rain boots since the storm hit the Jersey Shore.
“It certainly was a problem overnight and this morning at high tides especially along the river,” said Sea Bright Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni.
Early this morning, Ocean Avenue was closed to traffic, says Verruni, as flood waters receded on the main road. Many side streets remained impassable before noon.
“Our problem comes from the river and the river rises, comprises the bulkhead and ends up on all our side streets especially in the downtown and south beach. That presents a problem for the residents who have to bring their vehicles to higher ground,” Verruni said.
Sea Bright resident Joseph Kowitski lives next to the Shrewsbury River. The water rose about five inches in his garage.
“It all came out with the tide mostly. It dropped very quickly, probably after an hour of the high tide mark and then the rest just floated through the side of the house through the flood vents,” he said.
“When I got here this morning I was a nervous wreck,” said Alice Gaffney, owner of Alice’s Kitchen.
Alice’s Kitchen opened after Superstorm Sandy, a storm that devastated the beach town.
“This one was bad. This one was the worst I’ve seen since I opened. We were very, very fortunate, with the high tide last night. It came right up to the door but fortunately it did not come in,” Gaffney said.
The borough administrator says the beach in Sea Bright held up pretty well during the storm. The dune system did its job, but some of the dunes were compromised and they’ll need to be rebuilt. Some of the fencing will be repaired and dune grass will eventually be replanted.
“If we had another storm like this tomorrow we’d be in really bad shape,” said Manasquan Mayor Ed Donovan.
In Manasquan, the storm wiped the sand from the beach, covering what is normally the borough’s paved boardwalk.
“We had a beach replenishment project after Sandy by the Army Corps of Engineers,” Donovan said. “Just recently we had 50,000 cubic yards of sand that was given to us by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. They did a dredging project in the Manasquan Inlet and Manasquan River and pumped a lot of the sand up on our beach and that’s all gone.”
Donovan says although flooding wasn’t as bad as expected, it was still persistent as the town got hit with rain and high wind gusts.
“It started yesterday morning and then it went straight through two high tides and the third high tide this morning was higher than the highest high tide yesterday,” he said.
With a long winter still ahead, Manasquan’s mayor insists replenishing the beach is now a top priority.