Beaches take a hit from March storm

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AVALON – Beaches in Stone Harbor suffered significant erosion in last week’s late-winter storm, but Avalon fared well, according to officials.

The nor’easter on March 6 brought heavy winds, flooding and power outages.

The storm came weeks after Avalon completed a large beach fill project and Stone Harbor will see more sand on its beaches starting in April. The work is part of repairing the beaches damaged from hurricanes Sandy in 2012 and Irene in 2011.

“We’re anxiously awaiting the beach fill project,” said Roger Stanford, who is the borough’s office of emergency management coordinator and borough fire chief.

During a tour of the beaches on March 6, he and another borough representative saw the significant erosion along the beach in Stone Harbor from the nor’easter.

It may be just as well that the beach project is still pending for Stone Harbor. If the beach fill project would’ve been completed in the borough, some of the new sand would’ve washed away, Stanford said.

In Avalon, spokesman Scott Wahl said some sand eroded from the northern part of the beaches.

“We didn’t see any significant problems at all,” he said, calling the erosion “minimal at most.”

Avalon’s beach fill project was finished in late January, where 302,000 cubic yards of sand was from a borrow area in Townsend’s Inlet onto the Avalon beachfront from the 8th Street jetty down to the 25th Street beach.

Stone Harbor’s fill project is set to get under way on or around April 12, according to a press release. The project includes pumping 420,000 cubic yards of sand from 92nd Street south to 114th Street, and from 119th Street south to the last jetty on the island. The work should be completed before Memorial Day weekend.

Wahl said the late-winter storm is no different than other nor’easters that have hit the area.

Some places saw major flooding in Stone Harbor, one of them being Sunset Drive, from 92nd to 95th streets, Stanford said.

Workers were repairing part of the roof on the Sanderling Condominiums in Stone Harbor after it blew off. The building at First Avenue and 96th Street has been under reconstruction for several months, according to one of the construction workers on site.

Gusty winds also toppled several utility poles along Stone Harbor Boulevard, according to Stanford, prompting officials to shut the road down. The road is now open.

The wind “was stronger than Sandy,” Stanford said.

Avalon also experienced some structural damage.

A second-floor deck fell off a home on 24th Street in the borough. No one was injured or home at the time, Wahl said. Some shingles were blown from some roofs, too.

The borough experienced some flooding during the high tide, such as along Ocean Drive, Wahl said.

Stewart Farrell of The Richard Stockton College will probably examine the Avalon beach, Wahl said. He is an expert on beaches, particularly on things like erosion, Wahl said.

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