As the forecast track of Hurricane Joaquin appeared more and more as if the storm would be at the Jersey Shore’s doorstep by Monday morning, Brick officials began preparing for its potential impact.
Nowhere along the state’s coastline is more vulnerable than Ocean County’s northern barrier island, where dune systems destroyed during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 have yet to be rebuilt following delays in gaining easements to complete a federal beach and dune replenishment project. In Brick and Mantoloking, however, an extra layer of protection exists in the form of a steel sheet pile wall anchored into the ground to help protect the island from breaches.
The positioning of the steel wall has made it more difficult for Brick Township to bring sand into the area, though, and after working several days after erosion last week, the sand that was most recently brought in has already been eroded back into the ocean.
“Everything we pushed up south of Brick Beach III has gone back into the ocean,” said Mayor John Ducey. “At high tide, the ocean is hitting the wall, so there’s no sand for us to push up.”
The wall, plus the sand that remains intact, will act as the township’s barrier during a potential Joaquin impact.
Brick has also begun advising residents to move their cars to higher ground in the event of a storm and has prepared its systems to warn of any evacuations that could become necessary, Ducey said. Additionally, the township has sand bags available for residents at the recycling center on Ridge Road.
“We’re telling everybody to gas up their generators and get some water, batteries and things like that,” Ducey said.
The recycling center will be open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the rest of the week.
Other communities have also started the process of getting ready for Joaquin’s potential impact.
In Lavallette, sand has been pushed up onto beach entrances, effectively blocking them by creating a makeshift berm where water could penetrate the dunes. The north in Toms River’s Normandy Beach section, front loaders were at 5th Avenue, shoring up makeshift dunes along the hobbled oceanfront area.
In Seaside Heights, crews continues to work on a temporary dune line, said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz. Borough employees were also inspecting storm drains, fueling and running OEM vehicles and testing generators.
Seaside Heights is also in the process of scheduling manpower for its municipal electrical utility and placing sandbags at its Public Works buildings.
Though unrelated to Joaquin, heavy surf made Manasquan Inlet treacherous for boaters. Two U.S. Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Life Boats stood watch at the inlet, guiding commercial fishing boats, party boats and other vessels safely through the waterway.