Katlin Walling, Jon K Miller, Thomas Herrington, Anthony Eble


Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Brigantine, NJ, USA on October 29, 2012 and left many coastal communities in New York and New Jersey devastated. In New Jersey, the damage levels varied significantly between Sandy Hook in the north and Cape May to the south. This study reports on data collected under a National Science Foundation (NSF) RAPID grant focusing on Sandy related damage in three of New Jersey’s coastal communities: Sea Girt, Bay Head and Mantoloking. These communities were specifically chosen due to their close proximity to one another and the vast difference in damage each experienced. Sea Girt and Mantoloking bracket the study area, and are located less than 12 km apart, with Bay Head located in between. In comparison to one another, Sea Girt experienced the least amount of damage, Bay Head experienced a moderate amount, while Mantoloking was severely damaged. Under the NSF funding, field data including watermarks, structure damage assessments, and scour information were collected. This data is currently being used to evaluate several different factors in an attempt to determine why Sea Girt fared so well, compared to Bay Head and Mantoloking, and why some portions of Mantoloking were nearly completely destroyed, while others were minimally impacted. Several conclusions arising from this study are that: (1) structural damage to houses in Bay Head and Mantoloking was a direct result of wave impact, overland surge propagation, and/or severe scour; (2) both Bay Head and Mantoloking experienced flooding from the bayside, although the intensity varied tremendously between the two boroughs, (3) the presence of an existing rock seawall along Bay Head’s dune line significantly mitigated storm surge propagation though the Borough and direct wave attack on the oceanfront structures; and (4) Sea Girt experienced the least amount of flooding and structural damage due to its natural high elevation, as well as its protective wide beach and high dune system. The data from this study has been utilized to validate and evaluate several storm models currently being applied to investigate the damaging effects of Sandy along the coasts of New York and New Jersey. Ultimately, the objective is to utilize the modeling techniques and assessments derived from these measurements to help coastal communities recover and rebuild from future natural disasters.


Hurricane Sandy; watermarks; storm surge

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