) Surviving Sandy 
in Brigantine | Features | News & Views | Atlantic City Weekly

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Surviving Sandy 
in Brigantine

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.

By Ray Schweibert
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Nov. 7, 2012

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Sea Tow attempts to right a capsized boat at the Brigantine boat ramp.

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.


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1. Fran Stein said... on Nov 8, 2012 at 06:30PM

“....next time there may not be a next time!”

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