By Lauren Wanko
High wind gusts wiped the sand through the frigid air while the ocean swallowed the beachfront in Mantoloking this afternoon.
“So we are at high tide right now so you can see really that the ocean is right here. It’s at the base of this wall. There is no beach,” said Mantoloking Police Chief Stacy Ferris.
Which is why Mantoloking’s newly completed steel sheet wall, an uninterrupted bulkhead buried underneath the sand is crucial, says Ferris.
“Right underneath where we’re standing is that steel wall, which is approximately 15 feet above sea level, and then it goes 30 feet down below us. So that will give us that little sense of security we’re gonna need,” said Ferris.
Sandy hammered this Ocean County beach town. More than two years later, construction equipment is scattered on lots throughout town.
“Listen, we’re trying to rebuild a town here. We’re asking everyone if it floats or flies to secure their sites,” said Ferris.
The angry ocean isn’t the only worry. There’s the Barnegat Bay.
“The issue with Barnegat Bay is right now this northeast wind is gonna fill up the bay, so it’s gonna give us issues later on tonight once high tide is over in the ocean,” said Ferris.
Farther north in Monmouth County, Neptune Township Department of Public Works isn’t letting one tiny piece of salt get blown away.
On how many tons are in the salt dome, Neptune Township Director of Public Works Wayne Rode said, “Yeah there’s about 800 tons.”
Neptune Township DPW expects to use up to 400 tons of salt throughout this blizzard. So far this winter, unlike last season, there’s been plenty of it.
“There’s never an end to the amount of salt that you might have to use that’s for sure,” said Rode.
Rode says he’s not worried about significant flooding issues around Shark River. Still he insists there’s plenty to be concerned about.
“There’s gonna be high winds. We’re very concerned about trees coming down, power lines coming down, the white out conditions,” said Rode.
Which means public works departments throughout the Jersey Shore will be working around the clock. Spring Lake DPW’s Greg Young expects a big crowd in the crew’s kitchen this evening.
When asked what’s for dinner tonight, Young said, “We’ll see. Hopefully it’s more than coffee and Red Bull.”
Crews anticipate a long night on the job.
“We’re concerned about beach erosion, we’re gonna have heavy winds — 25 to 35 miles an hour. There’s gonna be drifting snow. Hopefully the ocean isn’t too rough,” said Spring Lake Borough Administrator Bryan Dempsy.