Storm causes flooding in Sandy-damaged shore towns

March 7, 2013 7:31:58 AM PST
A lingering late-winter storm brought new damage Thursday to parts of the Jersey shore still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy, including a dune breach in Mantoloking that forced the closure of a major coastal highway.

Pounding surf from the latest storm broke through a temporary dune in Mantoloking, the Jersey shore town hardest-hit by Sandy, during the early-morning high tide.

Detective Stacy Ferris said the breach spanned three oceanfront properties, sending 3 to 6 inches of water flowing through onto the highway. As a result, officials closed a section of Route 35, from Herbert Street to the Bay Head border; the southern part of the borough remained open.

The state Department of Transportation, along with Mantoloking's own public works crews and contractors, were scooping and pushing sand back into the breach.

"We're going to plug that hole before the next high tide, which is around 3 this afternoon," Ferris said.

Every one of the 521 homes in Mantoloking was damaged to some degree by Sandy; scores were completely destroyed and hundreds of others suffered major damage.

Flooding also remained a problem in other shore towns, including Sea Bright, where firefighters extinguished a blaze in a vacant commercial building that was caused by a downed electrical line. Water on roadways was also forcing closures in towns including Monmouth Beach, Absecon, Aberdeen, Egg Harbor Township and Wildwood.

A coastal flood warning remains in effect until 9 a.m. Friday, but forecasters were not expecting Thursday's wind to be as strong as Wednesday, when gusts exceeding 60 mph were recorded in many places along the ocean.

The storm began Wednesday, causing damage to buildings in southern New Jersey, including a condominium complex in Stone Harbor that lost part of its roof, and in Atlantic City, where a lifeguard building suffered similar damage.

Northern New Jersey faces the possibility of 2 to 4 inches of snow from Thursday night into Friday morning. Light snow was falling along the Jersey shore Thursday morning, but with temperatures above freezing, it was not accumulating.

Scattered power outages remained, mainly in Cape May County, with less than 2,000 customers affected.