New Jersey begins clean-up process after nor’easter slams area

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 21:31:32-05

ORTLEY BEACH, N.J. — The nor'easter that struck the New York metro area on Monday was still having residual effects well into Tuesday evening.

However, conditions had let up enough by midday Tuesday that the full extent of the storm's damage was apparent.

Down the Jersey Shore, a number of communities were trying to manage the effects of the storm.

In Ortley Beach, which is part of the Township of Toms River, the gently sloping, high dunes that had been built last year in the wake of a record winter storm, were, instead, 12-foot-tall cliffs of sand. They were what was left after the storm's heavy surf wiped much of the dunes away.

"All the dunes we had in place are 75 percent done," said Tom's River Mayor Thomas Kelaher. "It looks like someone took a big knife and cut the dunes away."

Farther up the shore, in Sea Bright, the sea had been pushed up through storm drains by the nor'easter and onto roadways overnight. By Tuesday morning, drivers had to decide if they should turn back or drive through floodwaters.

By midday, though, those waters had retreated.

The same was the case on the rails. Overnight, floodwaters from a storm-surged New York Harbor had left train platforms looking more like boat ramps in Hoboken. The risen tide had also turned adjacent parking lots into saltwater ponds.

It didn't stop the trains from running, however, even though it delayed service. What caused further delays during the morning commute were downed power lines. Near Linden, high winds overnight had knocked down some half dozen electric lines.

By Tuesday evening's commute, those power lines had been replaced and repaired, making the trip home far less problematic than the one to work.

Also, residents up and down the Garden State were looking forward to Wednesday, which was forecast to be partly sunny, worth a high in the mid-50s.

It's perfect weather for the planned beginning of dune restoration on Ortley Beach and other Shore communities. Also, as a variety of residents pointed out, this week's nor'easter was tough, but it could have packed an even greater punch.

"Compared to some of the winter storms we have" said Toms River resident Gary Corbett, "yesterday wasn't so bad."

Pat Gianpietro, a long-time resident of Lavalette, summed it up distinctly. She'd lost power momentarily in the storm, but that was about the extent of it. "I've seen worse," she said.