As nor'easter nears, Jersey Shore towns rebuild dunes
As a storm bears down on North Jersey, towns along the New Jersey coast are busy rebuilding sand dunes decimated by Superstorm Sandy for protection.
Two storms are expected to merge and form a powerful nor'easter Thursday night or Friday, spawning a blizzard likely to hit New England with two feet of snow. That could mean trouble for parts of New Jersey and bring flooding to the coastal areas.
"We're now currently talking to all the towns along the coast who don't have dunes or berms. We're talking to all those towns and trying to get them emergency sand if they need it," said Bob Martin, head of the state's Department of Environmental Protection. "Either through us or through FEMA or through the Army Corps or Engineers, we're going to get the towns additional sand if they need it to protect their beaches in this very short time frame."
The importance of dunes was illustrated during Sandy in Sea Girt, according to Mayor Ken Farrell. A section of the boardwalk in the Monmouth County town was ripped up during the storm, but Farrell says a strong dune system there prevented major devastation.
"While the dunes on the east side of the boardwalk were destroyed, they caught up and they absorbed the energy," he said Wednesday. "So little damage happened beyond the boardwalk. There's no damage to our street. You don't see a lot of damage to any of our infrastructure."
Farrell says Sea Girt is using existing sand supplies to build even larger dunes.
Governor Chris Christie, who said there will be no state-imposed standards for dune reconstruction, said Shore visitors will adjust to the sight of bigger dunes. He says tourism would suffer without the dunes to prevent future storm damage.