Not heeding pending-storm evacuation orders is never a wise move, but it can afford a better appreciation for what workers are up against when making barrier islands safe for return.
BRIGANTINE, NEW JERSEY — Meteorologists will tend to hedge bets with talk of percentages when making weather-related predictions. Any of them will tell you that forecasting future weather events is never an exact science, as too many variables can change things quickly and dramatically.
Most often meteorologists very accurately predict what the weather will do. And when they do not, it’s certainly never deliberate deception like the “boy who cried wolf” tale we were all told as children. Yet it’s sort of suggestive of that tale that many more barrier-island residents opted to stay put and deal with Hurricane Sandy’s wrath rather than go through the same inconveniences as August 2011, when we were told Hurricane Irene would pack a wallop and it fizzled. Obviously Sandy did anything but fizzle and some, myself included, will never brush off a warning to evacuate Brigantine again.
A phenomenon that will remain ingrained with me after Sandy has passed was a pair of perceived and distinctly different time distortions. It was reported to be about 36 hours from the huge storm’s arrival to its departure, which seemed more like an eternity, especially when the power went out. Then on Sunday, Nov. 4, around 4pm, I realized a week had passed since Sandy sort of boomeranged into the Atlantic City area after tracking up the East Coast, as the weather prognosticators predicted it would.
It seemed instead like the storm had just been on top of us yesterday.
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, I biked around the island to see what Sandy had done. Many residents, particularly those on the north end of Brigantine or closest to the bay or ocean, sustained maximum damage from record-high tides and/or sustained, hurricane-force winds, but every building was affected somehow.
President Obama toured Brigantine with New Jersey Gov. Christie after flying into Atlantic City International Airport on Tuesday, pressing the flesh and posing for photos at the community center that served as a shelter for evacuees (many of whom underestimated the storm and had to be rescued from their homes).
The governor even obliged a request to snap a shot of Brigantine resident Mary Moyer and her friend Monica with the president. Later, when Obama’s motorcade visited North Point Marina (one of the hardest-hit sites on the island), a photo of the president consoling North Point owner Donna Vanzant sort of epitomized the island’s plight and wound up on the White House’s Web site (whitehouse.gov), battered boats and scattered debris serving as a backdrop.
The Laguna Grill Rum Bar, a recently renovated oceanfront establishment at the base of an historic Brigantine hotel, suffered extensive damage and will likely be months before reopening. Another casualty of Sandy, located less than a mile from North Point, was the Rod ‘n’ Reel Tavern, which sustained extensive structural damage. The nearly 80-year-old island mainstay took on about two feet of water and may be deemed too unsound to repair.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies are usually a rather bland, “if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all” proposition but after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy up and down the New Jersey coast, there is an urgency to declare that these tough resilient shore towns are open and ready for business this Memorial Day Weekend.
The recently publicized statistics telling us there are still upwards of 30 percent of the population on the East Coast who think that the Boardwalk was completely ruined and that most casinos are still not fully operational means we have a lot of work to do.
Many employees at Caesars Entertainment's four properties in Atlantic City — Caesars, Bally's, Harrah's Resort and Showboat — were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Now they will be getting help thanks to the culinary skills of acclaimed chef Chris Scarduzio.
The proceeds from the Atlantic City show — tickets ($75 and $150) go on sale Nov. 30 at 10am — are going to aid victims of Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy.
FEMA even hired local residents to help out with the pick-up. One day, I saw at least 15 young people following Department of Public Works trucks because regular employees could not keep up with the amount of flood-damaged goods.
I received more than a few calls, e-mails and Facebook messages asking why the concert was being staged at Madison Square Garden and not at Boardwalk Hall.
Hockey All-Stars Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers and Brad Richards of the New York Rangers, in partnership with Caesars Atlantic City today announced Operation Hat Trick, a charity hockey game that will take place at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7pm.
The South Jersey shore community — along with celebs from across the country — come together for post-Sandy relief and to let folks know Atlantic City is open (and the Boardwalk) for business.
With a stellar lineup slated for this weekend, Nov. 9-11, the club, in collaboration with associates Angel Management Group, the EMM Group and Revel, will be utilizing the performances from all three nights, and the revenue they generate, as an opportunity to reach out to a local community in dire need.
"Since the national media showed so many images of a city underwater and a broken Boardwalk, we launched the 'Can DO AC' blog. It includes pictures of the city ready and open for business."
Obama: "I want to thank all the first responders who have been involved in this process -- the linesmen, the firefighters, the folks who were in here shuttling out people who were supposed to 'get the hell out' and didn’t."
Watch the video of Atlantic City Mayor Langford on CNN Nov. 1 accusing Gov. Christie of a 'double standard.'
The latest Sandy storm coverage for the Atlantic City, New Jersey area.
The storm, which has killed several dozen people in the Caribbean, is expected to be a "storm of historic proportions" for the Mid-Atlantic region, including the New Jersey shore, New York City, Delaware, Pennsylvania and possibly Ohio.
Nearly 11,000 people came out for the charity game, which has been hailed as a big success by organizers, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the victims of Sandy.