The steel sea wall revetment that has yet to be completed was holding back waves from a nor’easter on Tuesday as beach erosion intensified with each pounding wave.
The National Weather Service was forecasting seas of 10-15 feet offshore during the day Tuesday as a Gale Warning remained in effect. Seas overnight were predicted to run 8-13 feet.
Waves lapped at the sea wall where it was completed. The wall’s presence painted a clear picture of the eroding power of the ocean, as the wall kept makeshift dunes in place behind it, compared with up to five feet of sand lost in front of it, depending on the location.
The wall, officials have said, is not designed to be a first line of defense against beach erosion. An engineered dune that will be covered in anchoring vegetation is planned to be built on top of the steel beginning in late March or early April by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The wall, which extends 30 feet underground, would protect the integrity of the barrier island only in the case that the entire protective dune had been eroded away. But with the dune not yet built, the wall was doing its job to protect makeshift dunes built by township contractors.
Seas were predicted to subside by Wednesday morning.