Monday, October 5, 2015

Post-weekend storm update from North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello

Beach erosion near 5th Avenue as seen on Saturday; photo by Greg Graham

After what was a white knuckle weekend in which the Wildwoods were battered by the heavy winds of an early October nor'easter, the island is taking its inventory.

The good news is that there is no widespread damage to report.

The highly-publicized collapse of a large home at neighboring Grassy Sound will long be remembered, but was not indicative of conditions among the communities of 5 Mile Beach.

This morning, we had the opportunity to talk with Mayor Patrick Rosenello of North Wildwood, the town which almost always bears the brunt of these storms due to its northeast location...

Overall shape

"We fared pretty well, all things considered, said Rosenello. "Friday at high tide was the worst, but we used the resources we have on hand and benefited from our preparedness."

Rosenello noted that the city's tide gauge at the 5th Street Boat Ramp has proven to be an invaluable assessment tool.

"We get reports from the National Weather Service, but we're also able to see what's going on with the tides and monitor in real time. On Friday, the gauge at 5th Street recorded a tide level of about 8.17 feet. The normal level is about 4.5 feet, so we're talking about 4 1/2 feet over.

"For comparison, during Sandy, we hit 8.9 feet."


Rosenello continued: "That's how close we were, but that foot or so makes all the difference in the world. During Sandy, the water went completely over New Jersey Avenue and onto Central.

"This weekend, we had flooding on New Jersey, but Central was not breached."

The mayor called the North Wildwood Seawall a "godsend," noting that tide did not make it over the wall, preventing widespread flooding that would have been a certainty years ago.

Beach erosion 

While areas in town fared well, the worst damage was incurred on the beach between 3rd and 7th Avenues.

Rosenello guessed that "hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand" were lost since heavy winds out of the northeast began pounding the area over 10 days ago. The effects actually began before the Irish Fall Festival, which was held last weekend.

"That area has really taken a beating with on-shore winds for days now, almost two weeks," he said. "The 5th Street beach ramp is gone, once again, and we have a lot of work to do there."

Dredging project

A previously planned back bay dredging project, which had been delayed due to the high winds, will offer some solutions.

"Due to the erosion, this will now be more of a stabilization project than a replenishment, but it will definitely help," said Rosenello. "We're working closely with the New Jersey Department of Transportation on this.

"The dredge is nearby, I believe behind Stone Harbor now, and we're just waiting for the winds to die down. It could get started in as early as a few days."

Rosenello said that Beach Creek will be dredged from Hereford Inlet to Maryland Avenue, bringing much-needed sand and materials back to the northern beach.

"This will be a relatively small project in terms of rebuilding. But it's necessary and will definitely aid in bolstering area after the damage of the past two weeks."

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