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GAS LEAKS, SAND KEEP SEA BRIGHT CLOSED

Residents and sightseers wait on the Rumson side of the Shrewsbury River for authorization to enter Sea Bright Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

 By JOHN T. WARD

Anxious residents and a steady stream of wannabe gawkers poured into eastern Rumson Wednesday, hoping to be allowed into storm-wracked Sea Bright.

But Rumson police, abetted by a Monmouth County sheriff’s officer and a handful of National Guardists, continued to bar access to the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, citing widespread hazards in the sandbar borough.

Deep sand, building debris and natural-gas leaks make it impossible for anyone other than emergency workers to be allowed in, officials said.

“One match, and a whole block could go up,” a sheriff’s officer who asked not to be identified told redbankgreen, citing the leaks.

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STORM WATCH POSTS

One of the controversial gas valves that New Jersey Natural Gas insists are safer above ground – a claim borough officials dispute in a lawsuit – was struck by a falling tree on Monmouth Street during the storm Monday night, triggering a leak that emergency workers had to halt at the peak of the hurricane, said borough Administrator Stanley Sickels. (Click to enlarge)

Here’s a smattering of posts from around the Green that would have gone up in something closer to real time, if not for redbankgreen‘s lack of power and Internet access…

BREAKING: Electric power returning to parts of Red Bank. Monmouth Street, E & W Front. JCP&L “not communicating” with boro on timetable for rest, official tells us. 3:05p #rbgSandy

RED BANK: Return of power prompts spate of alarms, officials report. redbankgreen.com #rbgSandy

RED BANK: Town adopts Monmouth County curfew rules. No one out from 7p to 7a until further notice. redbankgreen.com #rbgSandy

RUMSON: Steady stream of residents and would-be sightseers turned away from devastation in Sea Bright. redbankgreen.com #rbgSandy

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SEA BRIGHT: IN THE TEETH OF THE STORM

redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner waded in up to his waist to get pictures of Hurricane Sandy smashing into Sea Bright on Monday. Our slideshow also includes some post-storm shots from the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge.

SEA BRIGHT SMASHED BY HURRICANE SANDY

Ship Ahoy Beach Club appears heavily damaged, as seen from the bridge. Below, Ocean Avenue looking north during the storm Monday. (Photo below by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hurricane Sandy devastated Sea Bright Monday, bashing beach clubs and stores from the ocean side, flooding from the river side, and leaving an avenue of deep sand more than a mile long along Ocean Avenue, witnesses said.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, police were still barring entry to the sandbar borough, citing dangers that included downed power lines and natural gas leaks.

But in interviews with redbankgreen, witnesses — including two holdouts who defied a mandatory evacuation order and rode out the storm in their homes — spoke of far-reaching destruction.

“Chapel Beach Club – that’s gone,” said weekly Two River Times news photographer Scott Longfeld, who was permitted into town. “Every club except for Surfside is destroyed.”

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STORM WIPES OUT RUMSON MARINA

The Oceanic Marina yard as it appeared early Tuesday, above, and on Saturday from the same spot. (Click to enlarge)

 By JOHN T. WARD

On Saturday, even as he braced for record flooding, Oceanic Marina owner Pete Pawlikowski thought he had the storm beat.

The Navesink River was sure to flood the store and office of his Rumson business, Pawlikowki told redbankgreen, and the level might even break the records.

But as for the fleet of 75 recreational vessels entrusted to him by customers – at worst, he said, he might lose one or two to Hurricane Sandy. But all were safely up on blocks, he said, crowded so tightly into his yard that a person could barely squeeze past them.

By Tuesday morning, they were gone. And even after 30 years of watching storms come and go, a stunned Pawlikowski could hardly begin to comprehend it, he said.

“It’s total destruction,” he said. “We don’t even know where to begin.”

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RED BANK: SANDY SINKS ANTI-OBAMA FLOAT

Just two days ago, it was riding high, towed around on the Navesink by a boater whose identity redbankgreen doesn’t know. By Monday, though, a custom-built anti-Obama floating ad was underwater at a dock in Red Bank.

Should we read anything into this about next week’s presidential election? And if so, who is sunk: Obama or Nobama? (Photo above by Michael McMahon; at right, by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WIND RIPS ROOF OFF HIGH-RISE

Strong winds peeled back the roofing atop the Grandville Tower high rise on Morford Place in Red Bank Monday afternoon, leaving it flapping over the edge of the 10-story building. (Photo by Ken Kalada. Click to enlarge)

REALLY? NOW??

Fido gets one of his most pressing needs tended to on East Front Street in Red Bank during a Hurricane Sandy downpour Monday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY: WIRES DOWN ON SYCAMORE

Emergency workers closed a stretch of Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury around 2 p.m. Monday after a tree limb took down some wires. An auto accident apparently occurred nearby, with a mistaken initial report of an entrapment, though it was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related, police Chief Lou Ferraro told redbankgreen.  (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK? TRY GRAY BANK

Yestercades owner Ken Kalada shared this shot of Marine Park, Red Bank. (Photo by Ken Kalada. Click to enlarge)

redbankgreen readers Ken Kalada and Deb Smith sent us these storm shots taken early Monday.

Have you got one you’d like to share? Feel free to email it to us, full-sized, with info about when and where it was taken, and who if anyone should be credited.

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DOWNTOWN SEA BRIGHT UNDERWATER

redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner snapped this shot on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright at about 10:30 a.m.

Water was at mid-thigh, Lindner reports. Wind is howling there, too. Still, a few sightseers were out. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: OCEAN VIEW

Wish you were there? Sea Bright beach, around 10:30 Monday morning. (Video by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON-SEA BRIGHT: FAST-MOVING RIVER

A view of the fast incoming tide on the Shrewsbury River between Rumson and Sea Bright, as seen from Lincoln Avenue in Rumson at about 9 a.m. Monday. Photographer Peter Lindner says the West Park section of Rumson, which was ordered evacuated, has about a foot of water in many places. (Video by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON ORDERS EVACUATION

There was barely an unused square foot of ground at the Oceanic Marina Sunday afternoon, as all vessels were pulled from the water in advance of the storm. (Click to enlarge)

Though a mandatory evacuation order was in effect as of 4 p.m. Sunday, redbankgreen saw lots of lights and televisions glowing after 8 p.m. in homes along the streets that Rumson authorities warned are in danger of severe flooding as a result of expected storm surges.

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SEA BRIGHT SHUTS DOWN

A motorist stopped at a sign reading “Turn Around Now” at the foot of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge around 8:30 p.m. Sunday (Click to enlarge)

With a mandatory evacuation order in effect and a roaring storm expected to put the town “under water,” in the words of Mayor Dina Long, Sea Bright shut itself to the outside world Sunday evening, barring traffic across the two bridges that provide access. From the south, Ocean Avenue was reported to be flooded in Monmouth Beach as a result of ocean water overtopping the sea wall.

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RED BANK BEFORE THE STORM

The folks at Sugarush figured a little sweet talk couldn’t hurt. (Click to enlarge)

The looming arrival of Hurricane Sandy lent an eerie vibe to an otherwise ordinary Sunday in autumn yesterday. Businesses in downtown Red Bank taped their windows as a precaution while the whitecapped Navesink River spilled over its banks at high tide, offering a preview of watery destruction yet to come.

Borough government and schools are to be closed Monday and Tuesday, with no sanitation or leaf pickups.

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FAIR HAVEN GETS ITS TOES WET

Illuminated by the headlights of their car, a couple snaps pictures of the Navesink River just as it breaches the deck of the Fair Haven dock around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

No evacuations were ordered in the riverfront town of Fair Haven, though borough offices and schools are to be closed at least through Monday, and will reopen when conditions “are deemed safe for employees to return,” according to a message on the town website. Also, garbage collection is suspended until further notice.

LITTLE SILVER EXPECTS ‘SEVERE’ FLOODING

Sandbags outside Gianni’s Pizza, at Church Street and Prospect Avenue in Little Silver Sunday afternoon as the region braced for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. 

With flooding “expected to be severe” in low-lying sections of the borough, a voluntary evacuation was suggested by emergency management officials Saturday. Parking was made available to borough residents at the town-owned parking lot at the Little Siver train station.

Borough government and schools, including Red Bank Regional High, are closed Monday and Tuesday. (Click to enlarge)

GOOGLE FORECASTS HIGHEST SURGES HERE

The above map indicates that the probability of storm surges of six feet or more accompanying Hurricane Sandy are greater along the Navesink River, upper Shrewsbury River, Sandy Hook Bay and New York Harbor than nearly anywhere else along the storm’s path.

The map, created by the Google Crisis Response team, reflects geographic data from a variety of sources, including official information sources and user-generated content.

SEA BRIGHT BATTENS DOWN FOR WALLOPING

Residents crowded the downtown bus stop and shopkeepers boarded up windows Sunday afternoon in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

Most or all of the Sea Bright residents who were leaving town had complied with a so-called mandatory evacuation order or were in the process of doing so, Mayor Dina Long told redbankgreen shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday.

But among the town’s 1,800 residents are some who refuse to leave, and town officials said they have no legal wherewithal to force them to do so, even with a hurricane expected to inflict historic damage tracking northward.

“That’s what they do – they ride out storms,” said Long. “I’m hoping an praying that they don’t have to be rescued.”

Councilman and emergency services liaison Read Murphy said police and volunteers ran a check of the streets in town after a 4 p.m. evacuation horn was sounded, marking the departure deadline.

“We just let them know, if you get in trouble, we’re not going to come get you,” he said of the holdouts.

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SEA BRIGHT READIES FOR POSSIBLE STORM

If the TV cameras are out in Sea Bright, a storm must be brewing: Councilman Read Murphy being interviewed Thursday. Below, a rainfall forecast map issued early Friday by the National Weather Service. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

In Sea Bright, a spit of sand laid down between a mighty ocean and a fast-moving river, they’re taking this one seriously.

For the first time since Hurricane-slash-Tropical Storm Irene 14 months ago, the town’s business owners and officials say they’re bracing for a possible weather wallop – this time in the form of a combined Hurricane Sandy from the south and cold front from the north.

It’s a collision that’s already been dubbed ‘Frankenstorm‘ four days in advance of its expected arrival. The New York Times says it could produce “a historic and potentially devastating storm” for the Northeast.

“It’s coming. It’s bad,” said Cono Trezza, owner of Sea Bright Pizza on Ocean Avenue. He’s thinking of sandbagging the front and back doors of the recently remodeled space.

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GHOST TOURS ADD DEATHLY CHILL TO STROLL


Tour guide Bill Normyle tells a group about the Dublin House’s infamous Mrs. Patterson, a ghost known for locking doors to make her presence known. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

By STACIE FANELLI

Red Bank sees businesses change hands often. Ghosts don’t like change.

At least that’s what Jersey Shore Ghost Tours guide Bill Normyle says when his group stops in front of the vacant storefront on Monmouth Street most recently home to Stokaboka.

It’s also a former borough hall, and Normyle suggests it is filled with the spirits of “a lot of disgruntled people who felt they had a lot of unfinished business — politicians and taxpayers alike.”

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