Flooding Is ‘Worse Than Normal’ in Storm-Hit Communities in New Jersey

A picture of 12th ave in Seaside Park flooding is unreal. What happened to Barnegat Bay since Sandy? #thenewnorm #dunes http://t.co/69ojirNQ

Dominick Solazzo (@DominickSolazzo) 27 Dec 12

Storm weary coastal communities in southern New Jersey awoke to more flooding on Thursday, with high tide bringing waters that lapped the bumpers of fire trucks and sent debris and at least one refrigerator floating down submerged streets.

“This is worse than normal,” said Paul Daley, acting director of the Office of Emergency Management in Toms River, where some low-lying areas were awash with waters that he guessed reached a depth of three feet. 

Mr. Daley said that no evacuation orders were given, but that people in affected areas, like Silverton, East Dover and Green Island, were urged to move their vehicles to higher ground and stay with friends or family until the water receded.

Photos posted to social media sites showed streets turned into rivers in other communities too, among them Ship Bottom, North Beach Haven, South Seaside Park and Lanoka Harbor. In Brick Township, the Office of Emergency Management closed access to the township’s part of the barrier island because of flooding and high winds.  High tide for the ocean was at dawn, and for the bays around 11; by early afternoon, the floodwaters begun to recede.

Sgt. Keith Reinhard of the Brick Township Police Department said that areas that usually received flooding saw waters slightly higher than normal, but that as far as he could tell, only streets, rather than homes, were affected.  Yet Mr. Daley, of Toms River, said several homes that were in the process of rebuilding and renovating from damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy took on water again. He also said it was the second time since that superstorm that the floodwaters had reached such unusual heights. 

“It may be because there’s so much garbage and sand in the inlets,” he said, “Nobody really knows why.”

Dominick Solazzo, an electrician and self described “freelance naturalist” who shot photos of flooding in his community of South Seaside Park, said flooding caused by the northeaster and Wednesday’s storm reached levels typically only seen in 20-year storms. The fact that such relatively minor storms resulted in such tidal surges left locals surprised, and concerned. “A lot of people are wondering what’s happening,” he said, “Is this the new norm?”

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