Northeastern Section - 49th Annual Meeting (23–25 March)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM


HALSEY, Susan D., Admiral Coastal Consulting, Pine Beach, NJ 08741,

Due to its heightened state of development, New Jersey has a myriad of coastal configurations that lend themselves to research and teaching opportunities from middle school to graduate level, from one day visits to years’ long research. Seasonal profiling of the same location can give science students a good look at the rhythms of a year, especially if there are pre-storm and post-storm profiles, and how a beach repairs itself. Northeast storm damage is perhaps the easiest to study and if students follow weather reports of their chosen location, the Class of storm can be determined following Halsey, 1986. This storm scale was written for regular people and coastal residents to use to compare damage from reoccurring Northeast Storms, and it has stood the test of time.

The recent damage from Hurricane Sandy was much harder for students to study at least on the ocean side where there was so much damage, with open gas and water mains, no electricity and deep pot holes in places that a police state was enforced for at least two months until roads could be dug out and gas and water mains repaired. Aerial photos were better for studying coastal processes since most were destroyed as the barrier islands were “repaired.” However on the bay and estuary side, the depth of the surge could be studied using various methods including “bathtub rings” of leaves and debris. Newspaper interviews of homeowners could also be used as people were able to precisely indicate how deep the water was in their homes. Individual interviews of homeowners had to be done with tact and compassion due to their extensive losses, but the timing of the surge could be determined from these interviews as well. The timing and depth was critical information in determining when the initial surge came in, and whether the breaching of the Mantoloking barrier gave them a second surge, and how deep the water was with that surge.