Weathering Sandy was all about water, not wind, in Brigantine (UPDATED)

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It wasn’t the first bad storm Brigantine had seen, but Sandy brought a level of devastation to the island greater than Hurricane Belle in 1976 and Gloria in 1985, according to one resident who lived through all three.

“I knew we weren’t going to have wind damages – well, wind wasn’t going to be the main problem. The problem was going to be flooding,” said Jim Miller.

Miller, sales manager at The Beachcomber News, weathered the storm at home with the supplies and food he’d stocked up days earlier, but was ready to jump in his boat to escape if necessary. He said the water level peaked in his neighborhood during Monday night’s high tide with his boat just about to float off its trailer, and just inches away from swamping his generator.

Most of his neighbors’ houses were filled with a foot or so of water during the late night high tide, which he estimated at 5 feet on Ninth Street North. Miller’s house, though, stood higher than the rest and barely missed having water damage.

“I had them build it higher than they wanted to build it,” he said of its construction in 2002. “It’s an extra two courses higher than normal.”

The power died around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Miller took his wife and two young daughters to his parents’ third-floor home in The Cloisters on the island’s south end, but had already resolved to ride out the storm in his own house.

From listening to WOND radio on his transistor radio during the storm and speaking to the few residents out and about on Tuesday and Wednesday, Miller gathered that the north end of the island took the biggest hit.

“North of Roosevelt Avenue and the golf course have the most damage,” he said.

Miller was able to survey a few locations Wednesday morning and reported that the Rod & Reel Tavern and North Point Marina sustained heavy damage.

Ninth Street North is still covered with a couple of inches of mud, sand, seaweed and debris, Miller said, with at least two telephone poles down.

Police Chief John Stone issued an update about Brigantine at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, saying there was still "widespread damage to roads, homes, electrical, telephone and gas systems."

Stone said Atlantic Electric and South Jersey Gas had crews working throughout the night to address damage to electrical and gas systems, and some unspecified areas of the island had power restored by Thursday.

The travel ban was lifted by Gov. Chris Christie Thursday afternoon in response to requests by local officials, although the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew was still in effect.

Police officers had been patrolling to ensure that properties were not being looted. The police and fire departments were coordinating with officials from local, county, state and federal agencies on location.

"There is a lot of progress being made, and much work remains," Stone said. "Remember when using a generator, make sure it is outside, away from a window."


The original version of this story reported incorrectly that the Pirate’s Den restaurant was flooded during Hurricane Sandy. The restaurant was not flooded and is currently open for business.

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