NJ beaches in good shape, but one storm could change everything
ASBURY PARK — New Jersey's beaches, for the most part, are in good condition and ready to handle crowds. But the same was said just months before Sandy made landfall here in 2012 and changed the New Jersey landscape forever.
"Although we were fortunate this past winter, we're not always going to be that fortunate," said Jon Miller, a coastal engineering expert with Stevens Institute of Technology.
Coastal experts and the head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection offered reporters a status update on the Jersey Shore ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, with an event Thursday morning at Tim McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
"Our beaches are in incredible shape, and our water quality is excellent," said DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, who took part in a coastal surveillance flight before the event sponsored by New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium.
Surveillance flights are conducted most days during the summer months, in order to get a visual assessment of coastal water and beach conditions. Every week, water quality monitoring is performed at ocean and bay stations along the shore.
"In the last three years, we've not seen a beach closure due to bacteriological issues," LaTourette said.
Any temporary closures, DEP said, have been generally due to heavy rainstorms that carry nutrients and bacteria into recreational waters.
Thanks to a calm winter storm-wise, and reinforcement work that's taken place since Superstorm Sandy, impacts on New Jersey's beaches have been minimal leading up to summer 2022, according to Miller.
Miller's State of the Shore report covered trends from September 2021 through April 2022. It was a storm in May, though, that made the biggest mark on our shoreline over a number of days. Some beach spots in Toms River and North Wildwood are off-limits through at least the holiday weekend.
Miller noted that New Jersey is in line for more nuisance flooding over time, due simply to sea level rise.
"These types of events are going to become more and more prevalent as we move forward," Miller said.
This year's Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be an active one, according to forecasters. The projections in 2012, the year of Sandy, called for a milder hurricane season.