Nor'easter strikes Jersey Shore

CAPE MAY - November 12, 2009

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Cape May officials announced a state of emergency Thursday evening. Voluntary evacuations were being urged for all residents on the west side of the Barrier Islands which include Wildwood, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City, Ocean City, and Avalon.

Cape May County emergency management officials are concerned about flooding during the next couple of high tides and are urging people to move their cars to higher ground.

The storm has already made travel between Avalon and Sea Isle City tough with the closing of the Ocean Drive drawbridge. A mooring from a barge doing work on the span broke loose late yesterday and the wind pushed it into the bridge damaging railing and walkway and possible more.

Until the bridge is inspected, it could be closed through the weekend. Meanwhile, towns are concerned about another round of erosion to beaches hard hit during two nor'easters last month. Avalon's loss is evident from Ninth to 20th Streets

The weather is also affecting the search for three fishermen.

The Coast Guard received a distress signal from the 44ft commercial fishing vessel at 7:35 p.m last night only an empty life raft and debris field was spotted.

Air searches continued for part of the day, but rough seas forced cutters back to safe harbor.

Meanwhile in Ventnor, the cliffs along New Haven Avenue have been carved away even more as the Nor'easter pounded the shore.

A foot of dunes has disappeared since yesterday.

The wind is causing sheets of sand to blast across the beach and trees to shake.

Bill Melfi of the Ventnor Emergency Management said that officials are worried of the likelihood of power outages caused by the high winds.

Boardwalks were all but disserted on Thursday, but there are always some, even in such horrible weather, that will brave the elements to sneak a peek or just be outdoors.

"This is no problem. I've been living here 8 years. I'm used to it," John Hawryluk of Atlantic City said.

Giant waves crashed onto the rocks and splashed into the houses in Longport.

Mayor Nick Russo says this Nor'easter reminds him of the Perfect Storm.

"When you get everything combined with the winds, the high tide, and the amount of rain that we're getting, the combination is very bad for us," Mayor Russo said.

Margate was also suffering from street flooding early on.

Perhaps the first casualty of this storm was a 6--7 foot pigmy sperm whale that was rescued from shallow water in the north end of Brigantine early Thursday afternoon.

This same system caused Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine to declare a state of emergency and officials urged people in some areas to stay home. Rain and resulting floods were predicted to continue at least through Friday in that state, especially along the southeastern coast.

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