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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CALM HEADS SOUGHT FOR EMERGENCY TEAM

Tommy Welsh and Ernie Van Pelt with an all-weather truck Red Bank’s emergency services operation acquired for free last year from Long Branch. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It happens fairly often, Red Bank officials say: someone will express interest in volunteering as a firefighter or first aider, but when informed about what’s involved in terms of training and commitment, he or she begs out.

With first aiders required to put in some 130 hours in training, and firefighters 200 or so hours, “most people who want to volunteer say they can’t commit that much time,” says Tommy Welsh, the head of the borough’s Office of Emergency Management and the town’s deputy fire marshal.

Now, there’s a third way to help during disasters, both actual and potential, said Welsh: the Community Emergency Response Team. And an open house to detail the opportunity is scheduled for later this month.

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ROAD WASHOUT WIPES OUT TRIATHLON

swimThe bike and run portions of Saturday’s event have been scratched, but 1.2- and 2.4-mile swims in the Navesink will be offered. Below, the planned bike route. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tri-bike-mapRoad damage from Tropical Storm Irene five weeks ago has prompted organizers to pull the plug on this Saturday’s Red Bank Triathlon, redbankgreen has learned.

The problem is Hubbard Avenue, which was undermined when Shadow Lake overtopped its banks and is still in the process of being repaired, says race organizer Doug Rice.

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PATIENCE & GROANS AS OUTAGES PERSIST

1st-ave-rumson-083011A downed tree and electrical lines had First Street in Rumson blocked off 48 hours after the storm. Below, a sign on the locked doors of Trader Joe’s in Shrewsbury. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

trader-joes-0830111Electrical power was restored at Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre’s home late Monday night, about 12 hours after he bought a mobile generator.

But he’s still still in the dark about when the lights will be on in the parts of his town that still don’t have power, he said.

Progress that had been made over the last two years in repairing strained relations between the town and First Energy subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light “seems to have been completely undone,” as the utility company has failed to keep officials informed about efforts to restore power in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, Halfacre said.

“I have found it incredibly frustrating dealing with JCP&L,” Halfacre tells redbankgreen. “There’s been a complete lack of substantive information.”

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A ‘LITTLE KISS,’ THEN GOODNIGHT, IRENE

Braced for the worst, and recalling the devastation caused by the northeaster of 1992, the borough of Sea Bright evacuated all residents in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Irene Saturday. Even emergency personnel were ready to relocate to Rumson if things got as bad as forecast.

But less than 24 hours after what was supposed to have been the peak of a horrific storm, residents and business owners on the narrow spit of sand had one word to describe what they experienced when Irene, by then downgraded to a tropical storm, blew through: “lucky.”

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SINGER SEBASTIAN BACH’S HOME DESTROYED

seb-bach-houseHeavy metal singer Sebastian Bach‘s Middletown home was destroyed when the Swimming River Reservoir overflowed its banks Sunday, he writes on his Facebook page.

A “numb, in shock & devastated” Bach reports that the house, once featured on MTV’s ‘Cribs,’ has been ‘destroyed, condemned and deemed uninhabitable,’ and that cherished mementos  were lost in the onrush of reservoir water.

“Somewhere under this river is a Kiss pinball machine and 2 gargoyles from the Dynasty tour,” he writes beneath the photo at left. “If you see them floating past your house, they’re mine. Or at least they were. :(”

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RAINBOW OVER OUR BEAUTIFUL NAVESINK

rainbow1A redbankgreen reader sent us this photo, taken from upper floor of the Riverview Towers highrise on Riverside Avenue in Red Bank Sunday after Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene blew through. (Click to enlarge)

THREE MIDDLETOWN BRIDGES SWAMPED

shadow-lakeRushing water from Shadow Lake left a gaping hole in Hubbard Avenue, above. Below, a truck fords flooding at the Poricy Pond culvert on Navesink River Road, site of a 2010 washout. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

nav-riv-rd-2Three Middletown bridges were overrun by floodwaters in Sunday’s storm, knocking at least two of them out of commission for the foreseeable future.

One of the three was the Navesink River Road culvert at Poricy Pond. This is the same culvert that Monmouth County had to close for rebuilding in 2010 after rushing storm flows undermined the roadway.

Its current condition wasn’t immediately known, but Middletown police have closed the bridge as impassable. In addition, there’s a fallen tree leaning on wires at that site.

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RED BANK: JUST A BIT DAMP AT THE EDGES

Red Bank borough administrator and fire marshal Stanley Sickels, interviewed by redbankgreen in Marine Park Sunday morning, says the town escaped the wrath of Hurricane Irene.

That truck in the video is one that was donated to the town by the City of Long Branch last Thursday.

Check out more videos at redbankgreen’s YouTube channel.

WHAT WE’RE HEARING 4

Caption on YouTube video says ‘Hurricane Irene Flooding at McLoone’s Rum Runner in Sea Bright.’

Telephone pole snapped in half between first and second bridges to Barley Point Island, Rumson, 7:40 am…

Middletown side of Oceanic Bridge flooded, Rumson cops coning off access, 7:49…

HELP US REPORT ON IRENE

biker-hitA bicyclist was involved in an accident with a car on Spring Street in Red Bank late Saturday. Details were not immediately available, but police said the bicyclist suffered minor injuries. (Photo by Cliff Galbraith. Click to enlarge)

Help redbankgreen report on the storm (as long as the power stays on) by sending us news tips, photos and links to videos you’ve uploaded to YouTube.

Please be sure to tell us when and where your images were taken, and by whom. Provide as much detail as you can about what’s shown.

Send images, links and tips here.

Thanks, folks, and here’s to a safe Sunday…

SALVATION ARMY TAKES IN NURSING HOME

just_in1Emergency officials have brokered a deal under which the Red Bank Salvation Army facility will provide temporary shelter for most of the 113 elderly patients of a nursing home ordered evacuated Saturday in the face of Hurricane Irene.

Borough emergency management coordinator Tommy Welsh tells redbankgreen that under a deal facilitated by the Monmouth County and state offices of emergency management 80 resident of the Chapin Hill at Red Bank nursing home will be moved just two blocks away, to higher ground, at the Salvation Army building on Newman Springs Road.

“We thought at this point it would be a home run if we could just move them up the hill,” Welsh said, noting that the four-story nursing home on Chapin Avenue is just yards from the Swimming River, in a flood zone. “If, god forbid, something should happen down there, we wouldn’t be able to get to them.”

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RIVERSIDE NURSING HOME, APARTMENT COMPLEX ORDERED EVACUATED IN RED BANK

chapinBuses and ambulances on the scene at Chapin Hill at Red Bank nursing home preparing to move 113 patients, many of them wheelchair-bound. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

just_in1Authorities ordered the evacuation of the low-lying Chapin Hill at Red Bank nursing home Saturday as Hurricane Irene neared, packing winds of 90 miles per hour in North Carolina yet leaving the anxious Jersey Shore eerily calm.

Also affected by an evacuation order was the 40-unit Locust Landing apartment complex on Locust Avenue, Tommy Welsh, coordinator of Red Bank’s Emergency Management Committee, tells redbankgreen.

A 1 p.m., two buses and an ambulance were on the scene of the nursing home, on Chapin Avenue near the Newman Springs Road bridge over the Swimming River, preparing to relocate 113 patients.

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MENNA DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY

just_in1Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna issued the following statement shortly after noon Friday:

A Declaration of Emergency is in place in Red Bank.  You will be receiving recorded telephone notifications on our reverse 911 system on your phone and email if you are signed up with our web notification alert.

Residents should prepare by stocking up on essentials at home and avoid any non essential or unnecessary travel.  Outside furniture should be secured.  All shrubbery and limbs left at curbside shall be removed from curbside and placed on private laws and property prior to 6 PM Friday.  Such items in a storm are carried in the storm water basins and clog the system that in turn makes flooding worse.

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GULP.

irene-sledger-082611Have they got your attention now?

The front page of today’s Star-Ledger is dominated by a single story, headlined “N.J.’s MOST DEVASTATING STORM EVER?’ (Click to enlarge)

From NJ.com, the Sledger’s website:

New Jersey is wearing the bull’s-eye for what could turn out to be the state’s worst storm ever, a Category 2 hurricane packing winds that could reach 100 mph, pushing a wall of water from the ocean as high as 12 feet and spreading floodwaters to inland towns.

Clearly, the newspaper reflects the consensus judgment of experts that we’re in for a potentially catastrophic storm come Sunday as Hurricane Irene lumbers north along the East Coast, with threat levels classified as “extreme” from the Carolinas to New England.