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How Jersey Shore beaches weathered the winter storm

It delivered powerful winds, heavy rain and several inches of snow in some spots, but the nor’easter that hit New Jersey late Monday into Tuesday didn’t damage the coastline as much as expected.

January Nor'easter
Harvey Cedars beach erosion from January nor’easter (Harvey Cedars Police)

Wrapping up a survey of New Jersey beaches following the storm, the state Department of Environmental Protection saw no major problems as of Thursday afternoon.

“We surveyed 66 municipalities and we determined that 52 had minor beach or dune erosion, and 14 had moderate beach or dune erosion,” said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna. “None of the beaches had major beach or dune erosion.”

Overall, New Jersey’s coast saw less erosion than it did during a previous nor’easter in January.

Hajna attributes New Jersey’s fortune to the storm’s “relatively short duration” and winds that at one point were pushing ocean water away from the coastline.

Since the January storm, he said, the beaches naturally replenished themselves of sand.

“We saw some significant wave action and saw some significant winds, but … we had luck on our side and nature smiled on us,” Hajna said of this week’s storm that delivered most of its punch in North Jersey.

Waves of 6 to 10 feet were registered as they broke onto the beaches.

Among the communities in which moderate erosion was detected:

  • Northern Ocean County, e.g. Mantoloking, Ortley Beach, Seaside Heights
  • Beach Haven and the Holgate section of Long Beach Twp., Long Beach Island
  • Ocean City
  • Stone Harbor — 80th to 123rd streets
  • Atlantic City, in the area of the shuttered Taj Mahal casino
  • North Wildwood — Surf Avenue to 2nd Avenue, 3rd Avenue to 6th Avenue

Hajna said this storm in no way had an impact on the upcoming summer tourism season. But two major beach replenishment projects are scheduled for this summer on Absecon Island and in northern Ocean County — the final two of seven post-Sandy projects aimed at building beaches to Army Corps of Engineers standards.

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