Think Sandy Was Something? It Was 20 Years Ago Today…
Unquestionably, Superstorm Sandy and the snows that followed gouged the Jersey Shore in ways that will take years to overcome. But 20 years ago today, a nor’easter that didn’t even have a name roared through and mauled the same coastline.
Thanks to hand-held VCRs that didn’t exist in the 1960s, it might be the first one of this magnitude still viewable through action footage. See it here:
Crhoniclers at www.hurricanes-blizzards-noreasters.com recall that shore homeowners hadn’t yet gotten off the mat from brutal storms in October 1991 and January 1992. Nor’easters typically move out of the area into the north Atlantic. But this time a fair-weather system in southeastern Canada roadblocked it, and it ran rampant through four states over three long days.
Wind speeds reached 90 miles per hour. Atlantic City’s storm tide registered 8.8 feet, a mark exceeded only once before in 1944.
Just as with Sandy, hundreds of homes were destroyed and floodwaters raged as inland rivers surged. President George H.W. Bush declared much of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts as disaster areas
It never got its own identity. But this was the storm that prompted federal and state lawmakers and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to devise and fund methods of rebuilding dunes. Ultimately, just about 10 years later, shore Congressman Jim Saxton (R-3) successfully pushed through to passage a 50-year federal commitment to beach replenishment.
The program isn’t foolproof. Dredging of offshore sand onto the beach led to the famous dumping of decades-old explosive devices that required engineers to block off parts of LBI beachfronts and remove them one by one before summer arrived.
And it bred the ongoing controversy over public shore access and easements that some homeowners found intrusive. One Harvey Cedars couple won a lawsuit over it, claiming that the high dunes ruined the view they expected when they bought the house.
And here’s an indication of how the value of a dollar has changed. That $60 billion dollars that President Obama has ordered for post-Sandy restoration? Back then, estimates ran a breathtaking half-billion dollars…about 1/120 of conservative estimates now.