Last weekend's winter storm, dubbed Jonas by the Weather Channel, was one for the record books, dumping upwards of two feet of snow on both Washington, D.C., and New York City. For the Jersey shore, it wasn't all white stuff: stiff onshore winds drove ocean water up onto the beaches and into the streets in flooding that reminded many of 2012's Hurricane Sandy.
This was by no means a Sandy repeat: the storm surge was not as high in most places, and it came without Sandy's three-foot battering waves (often the most devastating factor in a hurricane storm surge). But this flood was no joke either: it affected thousands of people and is likely to carry a high price tag for New Jersey's coastal communities. (Below: a utility crew disentangles a sailboat from power lines in a photo snapped by Belmar, New Jersey, Mayor Matt Doherty.)
JCPL removing the mast of a sailboat caught in their lines that caused power outages in Belmar. Can't make this up. pic.twitter.com/sdNWD3iICN
— Matt Doherty (@mattdohertynj) January 23, 2016
The New York Times carried back-to-back reports on January 23 and 24 (see: "Floods Surge Through Jersey Shore Towns," by Patrick McGeehan, and "With Morning Tides, More Flooding on Jersey Shore," by Jon Hurdle and Benjamin Mueller). "Several towns along the Jersey Shore were hit with flooding and power loss on Saturday as strong winds combined with a high tide to push water onto barrier islands," the Times reported. "Water, several feet deep at times, surged into the streets of North Wildwood, Sea Isle City, Ocean City, Barnegat and Belmar, among other towns."
"Jesse Gery, a local contractor who said he maintains about 800 properties in Stone Harbor and nearby Avalon, estimated that 20 percent of them had sustained some flood damage," the Times reported. "Mr. Gery installed three-foot-high metal flood barriers on the doors of some buildings for his clients but said they were no guarantee that the buildings would stay dry."
Long Island, New York, flooded in the storm also. But as the TImes reports that story, these floods are not much more than another day in the life (see: "Storm-Battered Long Island Confronts Everyday Flooding," by Arielle Dollinger). "Residents in Lindenhurst prepared for hurricane-level floods," the paper reported. "People on Pacific Street moved their cars to a shopping center parking lot two miles away. Some cleared garages to protect their belongings from water; Gina Rudden sent her dog to stay with her sister. But according to Ms. Rudden, this weekend’s flooding was nothing special. Since Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the area has faced flooding like this frequently."
In the years since Hurricane Sandy, Ms. Rudden to the Times, “This is an ongoing thing. This is our everyday life.” Lindenhurst is dotted with vacant and deteriorating houses, Ms. Rudden said: “People don’t realize what it is still like down here."