Still about eight hours from landfall, Hurricane Sandy already was causing heavy flooding in low-lying New Jersey coastal communities Monday with reports of damage to the famed boardwalk in Atlantic City, where the multibillion dollar casino industry came to a halt as the storm churned toward the coast.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority closed nearly 40 miles of the Garden State Parkway, cutting off access to barrier island towns all along the coast south of Atlantic City. Officials in Avalon warned on the borough’s Facebook page that the town was “impassable,” as flood waters had even crept up into the borough’s firehouse.
In nearby Stone Harbor, Kaylin Morrissey Bridgeman said in an email that all downtown businesses were boarded up and flooding was seen across the small town. Like many who stayed in town, she took pictures to document Sandy, posting on her web page, www.KaylinLydia.com.
Meanwhile, the Press of Atlantic City was reporting that Atlantic City officials were relocating people from its shelters to get out of the path of the storm, evacuating to the nearby inland town of Pleasantville. The newspaper also reported that portions of Atlantic City’s boardwalk had been destroyed and some city homes saw up to three feet of flooding.
All along beachfront communities in New Jersey and Delaware, the storm was already drawing comparisons to the devastating March 1962 nor’easter 50 years ago, which struck New Jersey and other coastal states, killing more than 40 people and wiping away entire blocks in some beach communities.
In Sussex County, Del., officials over the weekend warned off potentially historic coast flooding.
“This is a major event, one that could rival the historic storm of 1962,” said the county’s director of emergency operations, Joseph Thomas. “Just like that storm, Sandy could be remembered for decades.”