While shore communities try to remain optimistic for the first summer season, the annual State of the Shore paints a sobering picture on the fallout from Superstorm Sandy.

Stevens Institute Coastal Engineer Dr. Jon Miller speaks at State of the Shore (Photo by Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media)

The event, hosted by the Sea Grant Consortium and Stevens Institute of Technology, was held in Belmar this year instead of the Consortium's usual location in Sandy Hook. DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, NJ Tourism Director Grace Hanlon, Stevens Institute Coastal Engineer Dr. Jon Miller, and Stewart Farrell, Director of Stockton College's Coastal Resource Center spoke at the event.

Giving his report on Sandy's damage, Dr. Miller noted it was the quintessential "perfect storm."

"Storm surges coincided with the spring tide and the high tide, bringing in the most water and causing the most devastation."

He pointed out the storm went far beyond the average category one storm. At it's peak, tropical storm force winds covered one-fifth of the continental United States and waves of 12 feet or greater covered an area one half the size of the continental United States, 1.5 billion square miles.

In addition to damage from Sandy, Miller said the subsequent Nor'Easters dealt a significant blow to the state's coast line.

"That has to do with the fact the beaches were lower and there wasn't much sand."

The "lower" beaches were one of the storms most significant impacts on the coastlines. According to Miller, while width might not have dramatically changed in some spots, the actual depth of the beaches fell as much as 9 feet.

He also points out the misnomer of calling Sandy a "Hundred Year Storm," specifically that doesn't mean people are safe for another 99 years.

"A Hundred Year Storm means there is a one percent chance of it occurring every year. So the chance of having Sandy occur again this year would be one percent."

He points out this summer experts predict 18 named storms, 50 percent more than normal. While the chances of one hitting New Jersey are still slim, there is still a chance.

"The chance of New Jersey is low as it always is, two percent. But just to give you an idea last year it was one percent."


Video by Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media