Record N.J. storm brings big damage

ATLANTIC CITY. The highest tide in almost two decades, the largest wave ever recorded off Cape May’s coast and thousands of flooded homes helped turn a Nor’easter that walloped New Jersey’s coastline into perhaps the worst in a decade.

Oceanfront homes from Cape May to Monmouth counties suffered extensive water damage and beach erosion left numerous seaside towns scrambling to get federal help. Gov. Jon Corzine declared a state of emergency Saturday almost immediately after the worst flooding began to subside, which could quicken aid from federal authorities.

In North Wildwood, Mayor William Henfey told the Newark Star-Ledger yesterday that a $10 million stormwater protection system built earlier this year saved many homes, but that the dune system itself was likely destroyed by the storm.

Barrier islands up and down Atlantic and Cape May counties were overcome by the high tides Friday and early Saturday before the storm finally moved off the coast. A high tide that crested at nine feet was among the largest ever for Atlantic County, according to weather officials.

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