Long Beach Island took some of Sandy's hardest hits

The northern tip of Atlantic City shows where the Boardwalk (bottom) was destroyed after Sandy blew across the area. The Revel casino is at top.
The northern tip of Atlantic City shows where the Boardwalk (bottom) was destroyed after Sandy blew across the area. The Revel casino is at top.
Posted: November 01, 2012

Hurricane Sandy may have made landfall in Atlantic City, but the communities to the north - especially on Long Beach Island - appeared from above to have taken the storm's hardest punch.

A helicopter tour of the Shore from LBI to the Wildwoods on Tuesday showed all the communities that make up the region's ocean playground suffering some impact from Sandy.

Street flooding, particularly bayside flooding, was a plague up and down the Shore, and beaches were eroded everywhere.

But a half-day after Sandy pushed inland, LBI displayed the worst of the damage.

In places where the island is only a few blocks wide, such as Harvey Cedars, the ocean met the bay over the borough's streets. Dunes were obliterated, and sand blanketed parts of Long Beach Boulevard, the 18-mile-long island's main drag.

The storm tossed boats into a pile at a Brant Beach marina and shuffled trailer homes in Holgate, at LBI's southern tip. Island landmarks such as Fantasy Island amusement park and Hand's department store remained flooded.

Moving down the coast, northern sections of Brigantine were flooded, but closer to Atlantic City, the streets were dry. In Atlantic City, the Boardwalk north of the casinos was gone, leaving only the pillars.

Water covered some beach blocks in Ventnor and Margate, but the streets appeared otherwise unscathed. Lucy the Elephant, the historic Margate attraction, was standing unharmed.

In Longport, at the narrow southern end of Absecon Island, the sand-covered streets testified to earlier flooding.

Moving south, Ocean City, Strathmere, Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor did not show the scars of Sandy from above, though each had its own problems on the ground.

The Wildwoods also appeared relatively dry, aside from some bayside flooding. From the air, Morey's Piers seemed intact but the undersides of the amusement piers were packed with sand.

Undoubtedly, a few hundred feet above the fray is not the best vantage to provide a detailed survey of Sandy's work.

And those residents returning to towns south of Atlantic City are sure to find plenty of damage and heartache - if they have not already.

But it seemed clear that LBI and its residents, whether for reasons of geography or meteorology, are facing the longest road back from Sandy.

Contact Troy Graham at 215-854-2730 or tgraham@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @troyjgraham.

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