The massive snowstorm that blanketed much of the Northeast over January’s fourth weekend turned into a different problem for the Jersey Shore: flooding. As the storm system moved northward along the East Coast, attention turned to coastal flooding as warnings were issued for Delaware and New Jersey as well as the south coast of Long Island.
Southern New Jersey was expected to see the worst coastal flooding and erosion, leading to flood damage and perhaps a significant cleanup effort. A record storm surge was predicted in some areas. But officials attempted to stay ahead of the storm. They arranged for the creation of sand dunes and told first responders to stand by.
With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy just three years ago, officials understand the damage potential from wind and rain and the flood damage that results. Residents are still shell-shocked, in some cases, from what they witnessed then.
Gov. Chris Christie, also a presidential candidate, issued a state of emergency declaration on Friday and departed from his planned campaign activities to return to New Jersey. Christie said he returned to the state before the rain or snow even started.
Residents in some areas were urged to stay in place and get ready. The message from Matt Doherty, mayor of Belmar, was to “hunker down” and be prepared for whatever might happen.
While officials cautioned that the flood damage would not rise to the level of that caused by Superstorm Sandy, they also advised that the flood threat wasn’t to be taken lightly.
Christie labeled those residents who were fighting the installation of protective sand dunes as selfish, given that the dunes are a proven and necessary way to protect residents from flood damage. He also expressed the greatest concern for those living on the barrier islands of the Jersey Shore.