Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Despite storm and flooding, newlyweds refused to settle... until they'd settled!

Jessica and Ryan Merritt boast a love of the Wildwoods that they proudly call "an obsession."

The couple, 28 and 29, respectively, have been vacationing here since they were babies and have been renting seasonally with a group of friends for the past 11 years.

Originally from Bridesburg in Philadelphia, the Merritts were married on the beach in August and had their wedding reception at the Wildwoods Convention Center.

They wouldn't have had it any other way.

But this past weekend, they took their passion to another level - and in most memorable fashion!

The Merrits had been looking to buy a house in the Wildwoods and, as fortune would have it, one they both fell in love with went on the market shortly after their wedding. They decided to go for it, went through the process, and arranged settlement for Friday, October 2.

Anticipation built as the big day approached... but when it arrived, the Wildwoods were in the midst of being hammered by the weekend nor'easter.

"We decided to go through with it, and just hoped for the best," explained Jessica. "As soon as we came over the North Wildwood bridge, we knew it was bad. The bay water was coming up onto the road and we were detoured through Anglesea because of flooding.

"Then, every street from New Jersey toward the bay was just filled with water. It was nothing like we had ever seen."

It took some time, but the Merritts were able to navigate close enough to the property at Oak & Hudson Avenues for Ryan to slog across the street in knee-deep waters.

"He did a walk through to make sure that everything was dry, and thankfully we were all good," said Jessica.

"It was pretty close, but we were okay and then were able to finalize settlement.

"We are so excited to finally own a property in our beloved town and already can't wait for next summer!"

Morey's Piers: No significant damage from storm

We received an update this morning from Morey's Piers content manager Kristel Fillmore, on how the beachfront amusement piers fared during this past weekend's nor'easter.

Aside from some minor damage, the news is all good!

"In a nutshell, we were very fortunate that we did not sustain any major damage," said Fillmore.

"We did prepare for a potential hurricane by taking in trash cans and items that were not secured. We folded down some scenery on various rides and cabled rides as per the ride specs. We also took some of the cars off the Giant Wheel.

"Some minor flooding did occur and a canvas top on the Musik Express will have to be replaced. The damage that did occur was minor and we are just grateful that Mother Nature spared us once again."


One More Weekend of Fun...

Mariner's Pier will be open this weekend for the final two days of operation of 2015.

The pier will be open on Saturday, October 10 from noon to 10 p.m. and on Sunday, October 11 from noon to 5 p.m.

Sunday will feature the annual Closing Day Celebration.

Guests can purchase an unlimited ride wristband and kids can enjoy free face painting, strolling entertainment pumpkin decoration and more.

For more information, call 609-522-3900 or visit www.MoreysPiers.com.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Aftermath pics show storm's power

Some hardened island residents may pass this weekend's storm off as a "typical nor'easter," but by all measurable standards, it was the worst to hit the Wildwoods since Super Storm Sandy back in 2012.

That's saying something - well, actually, it could be saying a lot of things.

While Cape May County was largely spared Sandy's wrath in comparison to the destruction it waged along the northern New Jersey coast, it still did a number on us.

This nor'easter was actually something of a blessing, as the low pressure system played a role in pushing Hurricane Joaquin out to sea. No one-two punch this time, thankfully.

Still, it left behind some pretty impressive handiwork, and some clear demonstrations of Mother Nature's shear force...

Visible at center in the pic above is what is left of a 6 foot fence that was set up for the Race of Gentlemen (rescheduled for this weekend, by the way!) - mostly buried in the sand, as the surf continued to encroach west.

At left, a 55 gallon metal trash can lies crumpled like a plastic cup, south of the Wildwoods Convention Center.

Imagine the force of the wind - which reportedly reached gusts of approx. 50 miles per hour - that must have tossed this receptacle up and down the beach to cause this.

Not something you'd want to get in the way of!

Along the same lines, one of the City of Wildwood's beach rental boxes was flung across the sand, found today resting up against the Boardwalk near Rio Grande Avenue.

Several others were scattered about, in various states of distress.

The following three images were perhaps the most poignant to us, showing wooden walkways from Wildwood's beach that washed up all the way down at the Crest Fishing Pier.

These came from Rio Grande, Leaming and Hildreth Avenues, so they were found nine, seven and five blocks south of their original locations, respectively!

Status of Grassy Sound house debris, removal process

Structure debris resting in Old Turtle Thorofare; Courtesy of Matt Ulmer

The remnants of the Grassy Sound home that tumbled into the channel over the weekend continues to be a topic of local discussion and social media curiosity.

We went to Middle Township administrator Connie Mahon, who provided us with some updated info on the removal process.

According to Mahon, two large sections of the home, still highly visible, drifted south under the North Wildwood Boulevard Bridge and are now floating in the Old Turtle Thorofare.

The debris did not come into dangerous contact with any of the surrounding homes/structures, and is not known to have affected wildlife in the area.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be surveying to find out exactly where all the remnants are located," Mahon said. "The next step is for a side scan sonar to be performed, which will help locate smaller pieces of debris.

"State and federal officials are coordinating efforts to determine [the time frame for removal] now. They are also coordinating efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard."


Mahon also outlined the timeline of response after the structure's collapse early Sunday morning.

This info gives a sense not only of how quickly the response was organized, but the precautions that were made by numerous agencies to ensure that the debris caused no threat to the surrounding area:

* Middle Township Police initially responded to the scene upon report of the house collapse around midnight on Friday, October 2.

* MTP immediately contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and the NJ State Marine Police, as well as Middle Township OEM (Office of Emergency Management).

* Once the wind died down and conditions allowed, MT-OEM met with the DEP-OEM director, a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a representative of NJDEP Land Use, Committee members and MTPD.

* A meeting occurred on-scene Sunday morning to investigate, perform a preliminary survey and strategize. DEP-OEM Director Bob Van Fossen is expected to report back on findings shortly.

Post-weekend storm update from North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello

Beach erosion near 5th Avenue as seen on Saturday; photo by Greg Graham

After what was a white knuckle weekend in which the Wildwoods were battered by the heavy winds of an early October nor'easter, the island is taking its inventory.

The good news is that there is no widespread damage to report.

The highly-publicized collapse of a large home at neighboring Grassy Sound will long be remembered, but was not indicative of conditions among the communities of 5 Mile Beach.

This morning, we had the opportunity to talk with Mayor Patrick Rosenello of North Wildwood, the town which almost always bears the brunt of these storms due to its northeast location...

Overall shape

"We fared pretty well, all things considered, said Rosenello. "Friday at high tide was the worst, but we used the resources we have on hand and benefited from our preparedness."

Rosenello noted that the city's tide gauge at the 5th Street Boat Ramp has proven to be an invaluable assessment tool.

"We get reports from the National Weather Service, but we're also able to see what's going on with the tides and monitor in real time. On Friday, the gauge at 5th Street recorded a tide level of about 8.15 feet. The normal level is about 4.5 feet, so we're talking about 4 1/2 feet over.

"For comparison, during Sandy, we hit 8.9 feet."


Rosenello continued: "That's how close we were, but that foot or so makes all the difference in the world. During Sandy, the water went completely over New Jersey Avenue and onto Central.

"This weekend, we had flooding on New Jersey, but Central was not breached."

The mayor called the North Wildwood Seawall a "godsend," noting that tide did not make it over the wall, preventing widespread flooding that would have been a certainty years ago.

Beach erosion 

While areas in town fared well, the worst damage was incurred on the beach between 3rd and 7th Avenues.

Rosenello guessed that "hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand" were lost since heavy winds out of the northeast began pounding the area over 10 days ago. The effects actually began before the Irish Fall Festival, which was held last weekend.

"That area has really taken a beating with on-shore winds for days now, almost two weeks," he said. "The 5th Street beach ramp is gone, once again, and we have a lot of work to do there."

Dredging project

A previously planned back bay dredging project, which had been delayed due to the high winds, will offer some solutions.

"Due to the erosion, this will now be more of a stabilization project than a replenishment, but it will definitely help," said Rosenello. "We're working closely with the New Jersey Department of Transportation on this.

"The dredge is nearby, I believe behind Stone Harbor now, and we're just waiting for the winds to die down. It could get started in as early as a few days."

Rosenello said that Beach Creek will be dredged from Hereford Inlet to Maryland Avenue, bringing much-needed sand and materials back to the northern beach.

"This will be a relatively small project in terms of rebuilding. But it's necessary and will definitely aid in bolstering area after the damage of the past two weeks."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Coastal flood warning extended, now in effect until 6 p.m. on Sunday

High tide earlier today in Anglesea; Photo by Andrea Poskus

The coastal flood warning issued by the National Weather Service has been extended, and will now be in effect until 6 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday, October 4).

Moderate tidal flooding is expected to continue at each tide cycle through Sunday afternoon. Moderate to locally major tidal flooding is possible for back bay areas due to flooding that has not drained from previous cycles.

The next two high tide cycles will be tonight (early Sunday, technically) at 1:33 a.m. and tomorrow at 1:59 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Minor coastal flooding is a possibility on Monday at high tide.

The region is not expected to be impacted in any substantial way by the path of Hurricane Joaquin, which is now pushing safely to the east.

Storm Cruisers: Rain, wind can't stop the Chrysler Express

Sometimes, a good time is all about making the best of a less-than-ideal situation.

The Wild Thang 15 All Chrysler Car Show was one of the victims of Mother Nature this weekend, with the event officially being cancelled yesterday.

That didn't stop a group of Chrysler enthusiasts from processing onto the Boardwalk this morning (completely legally, for the record) through the rain and wind.

According to participant Carol Ann Hughes, about 15 cars made up the small but spirited parade; a fitting number, as the Chrysler Owners Group was celebrating the 15th year for the show.

Usually, there are over 100 cars on the Boardwalk for this event, but attendance was understandably much smaller, given the conditions.

"We had people come down from Canada and as far away as Alabama this year," Hughes said. "That's why we wanted to make sure the people who came that far for the first time could at least say that they drove on the Boardwalk after their long trip."

Afterward, the participants mingled on the boards and posed for photos before heading back to the Imperial 500 Motel in the Crest, which hosts the annual festivities.

Hughes added that the group is already planning and looking forward to the 16th annual Chrysler Car Show next October.

Here's hoping for sunshine and warm ocean breeze in 2016!

(Special thanks to Carol Ann Hughes for the above photos)

Send us your storm photos - wildwood365@gmail.com

We are presently putting together an album of photos to chronicle this weekend's storm, and would love to invite our readers to share their images.

If you would like to contribute, simply post to our Facebook page or send attachments directly to us via email at

Please use caution and be safe.

Thanks, everyone!

Al Alven
Wildwood 365

Grassy Sound home collapses into channel

Yesterday, a photo originally posted to Facebook by local Sherri Davis went viral, showing homes along homes in Grassy Sound surrounded by waters at high tide, from the perspective of the North Wildwood Boulevard Bridge.

The northernmost home, a three-story structure that has been uninhabited at least since being damaged during Super Storm Sandy three years ago, looked particularly precarious and drew concern from many.

Late yesterday, this building succumbed to the sea, collapsing into the channel, It's remnants were seen floating in Turtle Creek,

Fortunately, there have been no reports of injuries.

The house, which visually anchored the small wetlands community north of North Wildwood and south of Stone Harbor, had become a landmark for many, as it could easily be seen from the bridge which passes over into the Wildwoods.

It was also a favorite subject for artists, photographers and passers-by on boat.

At this point, there is no word on damage to other nearby structures or a timetable for removing the structure's remnants from the creek.

High tide will occur again here at 12:56 p.m., then at 1:33 a.m.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tide level reached 8.14 feet this afternoon; High tides to watch...

The North Wildwood Office of Emergency Management issued a statement this evening, noting that tide levels reached 8.14 earlier today.

This caused most areas west of New Jersey Avenue (bay side of the island) to experience flooding.

The National Weather Service has predicted the same or greater levels for the next consecutive four high tides:

Saturday at 12:30 a.m. & 12:56 p.m. and Sunday at 1:33 a.m. & 1:59 p.m.

For updated information, visit ready.northwildwood.com or tune into 1640 AM - North Wildwood Emergency Radio.

Update on events postponed /cancelled this weekend

Due to the weather conditions which are expected to persist through the better part of this weekend, all major scheduled events have been either postponed or completely cancelled.

The following is an update on each event...


The Race of Gentlemen
Pushed back to next weekend - Saturday, October 10 & Sunday, October 11

Olde Time Italian Festival
Rescheduled for Saturday, October 24

Ed's Funcade VIP Reward Weekend
Rescheduled for June 9 - 11, 2016
* Ed's Funcade will remain open, Friday - Sunday, weather (and electricity) permitting


Mid-Atlantic Police & Fire Survivors Weekend

Morey's Piers Boardwalk Bunk-Down

Pennsauken Surf Fishing Club Tournament

Wild Thang 15 Chrysler Car Show

* All Morey's Piers facilities will be closed this weekend. Mariner's Pier is scheduled to be open next weekend for its final two days of operation of 2015. The annual Closing Day Celebration will be held next Sunday, October 11, from noon - 5 p.m.

Ten Honored by Commonwealth of Kentucky


The Commonwealth of Kentucky honored several of Wildwood’s most civic-minded during a City Hall ceremony held Oct. 2.

Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr., Commissioner Pete Byron, Commissioner Tony Leonetti, Police Chief Robert Regalbuto, Firefighters Ernie Troiano III, Ryan Troiano, Bruce McCausland and Joe Cortese, Wildwoods Convention Center Director of Sales and Entertainment John Lynch and former Commissioner Bill Davenport were honored for their work on behalf of the citizens and visitors of Wildwood.

In naming the ten to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, Gov. Steven L. Beshear wrote being named to the elite group is “the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky…Our colonels are Kentucky’s ambassadors of good will and fellowship around the world.”

Colonelships are commissioned for an individual’s contributions to his or her community, state or nation and also for special achievements. Founded in 1932 to honor all those who enlisted in a regiment in the War of 1812, the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels now serves as a charitable organization.

“This organization works throughout the United States,” said Bill Weimer. “I nominated these ten men because they do an awful lot for everyone and they’re worthy enough to be a Kentucky Colonel.”

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Mayor Troiano. “We are all proud to be part of this organization.”

Wildwood Assists Cape May in Keeping Flood Waters Away


A call for assistance from a neighboring beach community to Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano aided in the protection of Cape May Convention Hall from possible flooding.

“I received a call from Cape May’s Director of Public Works asking if Wildwood could assist them in building a berm along the beach near Cape May Convention Hall,” explained Troiano. “As a neighboring beachfront community, we understand the power of the ocean and the devastation it can bring during storms.”

Wildwood’s Public Works Department dispatched a bulldozer that was instrumental in moving sand to create a dune on Cape May’s beach to protect its convention center. Members of the Wildwood Public Works Department worked side-by-side with their counterparts in Cape May to help protect the building.

“During weather events like this it’s important for municipalities to work together to insure the safety of residents and property,” said Troiano. “The call came and we are glad we were able to assist a sister city in helping to keep everyone, and everything, safe.

"The City of Wildwood values its relationships with our sister communities and will do whatever is necessary to help, as the community would do the same for us.”

Joaquin trending east, flooding remains big concern

Most major media outlets are now reporting that Hurricane Joaquin is trending eastward, meaning we are now more likely to miss out on a direct hit.

As we've learned with these phenomena, however, things can change quickly.

Of more immediate concern is the stalled front over the region today, which is bringing tropical storm-strength wind and the certainty of tidal flooding.

It's not a question of if, but, just how bad will the flooding be.

Tidal gauge plots as of 6 a.m. this morning showed tides three feet above normal. Earlier projections from the National Weather Service stated that tides could rise above 9 feet.

That would be a record-setter (tides peaked at 8.9 feet during Super Storm Sandy).

Attention is focused on the tide cycle, with high tide occurring just before noon today, again near midnight tonight and tomorrow (Saturday) prior to 1 p.m.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

National Weather Services issues coastal flood warning, wind advisory for Cape May County

In what was essentially a formality, the National Weather Service issued a coastal flood warning as well as a wind advisory for Cape May County this evening.

Both warnings concern the storm that is presently making its presence felt along the southern NJ coastal region and is unrelated to Hurricane Joaquin.

The coastal flood warning is now in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday, while a coastal flood watch will be in effect from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon.

The wind advisory will go into effect on Friday from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Widespread moderate to major tidal flooding is expected in multiple successive high tide cycles beginning tonight and possibly lasting into Saturday or Sunday's high tide cycles.

A continuously building surge, eight to 12 foot breaking waves and periods of heavy rain will further contribute to the impact of the tidal inundation flooding. Friday's tides will be about one and a half feet higher than what occurred midday today.

Major coastal flooding is likely again during the Friday night and Saturday night high tide cycles. Minor or moderate coastal flooding should occur during the Saturday night and Sunday high tide cycles.

According to the NWS, flooding will occur for two to three hours either side of the times of high tide.

High tide tonight occurs along the oceanfront around midnight and then around noon to 1 p.m. on Friday. High tide on the back bays occurs later than the high tide on the oceanfront.

Numerous roadways will flood and minor to moderate property damage is possible. The tides and wave action could result in moderate beach erosion.

The NWS has projected northeast winds from 20 to 30 mph during the day on Friday, with gusts reaching as high as 50 mph.

A high wind watch will be in effect from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.