A series of dune “cliffs” have returned to Ortley Beach following a weekend storm that brought heavy seas and high winds the region, however the damage to ancillary beach infrastructure was not as severe as what has been seen during similar weather events.
The worst-affected areas this time were between Sixth and Fourth avenues, where beach entrances were being blockaded by officials, who erected barriers to entrances in some locations. The cliffs – chunks of dune eroded away by the waves – stood about 10-feet tall at their highest point at Fifth Avenue, however were significantly smaller in most other areas of the neighborhood.
Unlike previous storms, there was little damage to Mobi-Mats, which had been rolled up after the beach season ended and prepared to survive a Jersey Shore winter. There was minimal damage to fencing – mainly sand that had piled up, either burying the fences or reducing their perceived height.
The beach berm was also smaller than usual – a regular occurrence during winter storms when sand is carried offshore to sandbars. Some of this sand historically returns during the spring season. The dunes themselves, however, were not breached and the dune system as a whole remained well intact.
A federal beach replenishment project, which is planned to provide for a re-engineering and significant widening of the beach berm, was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2023, however a series of issues with the bidding process, ranging from budgetary concerns to bid protests, have stymied the effort.
The good news is that the National Weather Service is not predicting any more severe weather for the Shore area for the next week, at least, with generally sunny skies and seasonable temperatures in the 40s and 50s.