Monday, May 12, 2008

Today's Floods Down the Shore

The plan today was to check out a house in Ocean City for a home and garden story; grab food for my book launch party; and then head to West Wildwood to do an interview. None of that happened.

The first heads up that something might be wrong down the shore was passing 6ABC's Cathy Gandolfo on the Atlantic City Expressway (I was tempted to ride next to her with a copy of my book in the window, but that would have been silly).

By the time I got onto the Garden State Parkway, the wind was really starting to push my car around. I considered taking the 34th street bridge into Ocean City because of the wind, but I'm glad I went over Route 52. I was just coming over the bridge when I saw that Ocean City was starting to flood. Badly.



The picture above is at 11th Street and Palen Avenue, right where CBS 3 was set up to do their noon news spot. Here's a few other pictures in Ocean City from the morning:







You can't quite see it in the last picture, but that field was full of seagulls riding out the storm. This was probably the last picture I could take without trying to rush...after that, the wind kept jerking me around and I snapped what I could.

I did manage to check out the house I was supposed to see for the story, but more to make sure it wasn't underwater (it was okay in the morning but I can't make guarantees for the afternoon).

I'd gotten a call from the person I was supposed to interview in West Wildwood about it being underwater. West Wildwood is known to flood, but this gentleman said his car was flooded -- and he had already parked it on higher ground, and it wasn't even high tide. So I got back on the Garden State Parkway and headed on down (I didn't want to risk sections of Ocean Drive being flooded or else I would have canvassed the shore towns in between). By that time, Route 47 into Wildwood was closed, so I headed in on Route 147 into North Wildwood.

It was worse there. Power was out in parts of North Wildwood. I tried to get close to West Wildwood so I could see what it looked like from across the bridge. The water was too deep for my car and ended up being too deep for me to walk.

This is a picture taken from my car on the way in. I heard that we had 60 mile per hour sustained winds. I could tell you how bad it was trying to walk around -- at times I had to turn my back to the wind -- but this picture really shows it:



Some more flooding:









It was at about this point that I realized I probably wasn't in the safest spot to be riding out the storm:



I also stepped on some ground and was up to my ankle in muck, so I got back in my car and headed up to Ocean City. At the time I left, it was looking like Route 147 was going to be closed down.

Ocean City didn't look took bad coming back in over the 34th Street Bridge, but some water was creeping up over the edges and I knew that it wasn't high tide yet. Still, I had high hopes that at least Shriver's would be open so I could get some salt water taffy for my party. They had been -- I just missed them. But Mac & Manco's was open. The crowd consisted of me and three pizza guys. I'm not a big pizza fan but nothing tasted better than that slice:



A few pictures from the Ocean City boardwalk:







I thought about taking a gamble and riding out high tide in Ocean City, but when the Mack & Manco guys said that the bridges were shutting down at 3:22pm, I hit the road. I was tired, soaked (I brought extra jackets and shoes but no extra jeans), and the adrenaline rush was starting to wane, which meant I was feeling extra sore from every time I braced myself against the wind. The entrance to the 9th Street Bridge was already blocked off (the streets that way were flooded, too, probably worse than what I'd seen in the morning). Here's a shot of what it looked like leaving over the 34th Street Bridge.



I'm home now. So what will I do next? Well, after a really hot shower and good night's sleep...I'll head back down tomorrow. Still need the stuff for my party, and there's nothing quite like walking the beach the day after a storm. I just hope that the roads will be open.

It's never safe to be in a flooded area, but this would have been a hundred times worse if it happened on a weekend in season. I didn't see a lot of people around, and that's probably a good thing. I never would have gotten home so quickly.

So that's my quick post of what happened today. Thanks to everyone who followed me on twitter...it's a great tool for things like this.

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5 comments:

Jessica said...

Crazy pictures! I've been down in Ocean City when it floods and it is not a fun place to be!

vagabond said...

Thanks for the story - I might be a little twisted but I loved it when this would happen and I was on the coast (diver) - power of mother nature and all that angle - It was my first story and first person to follow (great smile on your picture) Keep up the fun - C U Later - Joe

Leah Ingram said...

How come no one referred to yesterday's storm as a Nor'easter? Is it because we're not in New England? If you watched that center of circulation coming in from the shore, it was definitely turning counter clockwise and moving east to west, which would explain how all of that water got pushed onto land and caused flooding. We got hammered here in PA, too. The ground looks like there is a fresh carpet of leaves and twigs, blown from nearby trees. Glad you're OK!

Leah

John and Lisa Howard-Fusco said...

Wow. We got plenty of rain and wind up here in Forked River, but nothing like that. Glad to hear you got through it OK. No sense in getting yourself killed over salt water taffy...not even if the taffy is really good.

John

The √úbereater said...

Jen! As a fellow blogger and even better, a born and raised Jersey boy, I wanted to commend you on an awesome blog. The Jersey shore will forever remain near and dear to my heart. In my younger years, I was fortunate enough to have spent several summers down in Ship Bottom, LBI. Today, at 27, while I don't have the luxury of an entire summer, I savor every weekend I can get down there. Seaside, Pt. Pleasant, Ocean City, Wildwood, Cape May, Belmar, these are all places unlike any other in the country. My Jersey Shore epiphany ultimately came when 2 years of living in Chicago exposed me to people that simply didn't understand. It was almost impossible to control myself in a room full of people calling the man-made sand pits on the perimeter of Lake Michigan, "beaches". It made me cringe to say the least, and since that day, I have become somewhat of an ambassador to not just the Shore, but New Jersey in general. The rest of the country simple doesn't know what they're missing. But as they say, we'd prefer it that way.

That said, as an avid writer and food-obsessed young guy, I started a blog called Memoirs of an Ubereater in which I comment on all things food, as well as recant my experiences eating at the best and worst restaurant throughout New York City. My realm is not limiited to New York by any means, and thought maybe you'd be interested in collaborating on a piece regarding Jersey Shore food. I've had enough Midway Steaks, and Max's Hot Dogs to talk about Shore food all day. Anyway, if you have a chance, I welcome you to check out my blog at www.ubereater.com and let me know if you'd be interested in working together!

Thanks much! Keep up the good work!

-Regards,
The Ubereater