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PHOTOS: Long Beach Island Making Strides, Will Remain Closed for Forseeable Future

Power is on in Surf City and Ship Bottom, but new weather problems may be on the horizon and gas is weeks away.

Seeing a police officer armed with an automatic rifle at the end of the Causeway in Ship Bottom was a worse sight than any nightmare I have ever had.

He and a pair of National Guardsmen were checking IDs and verifying access at the Gateway to Long Beach Island for contractors, utility workers, media and some select home and business owners to protect against looters and ensure the saftey on those coming on to the Island.

Businesses that had perishable items were being allowed by Beach Haven to get them and leave. Residents in Surf City whose homes had been “red flagged," essentially declared uninhabitable, were allowed to go in briefly to collect personal items. Those helping to rebuild the island were also arrriving in convoys of dump trucks and with other equipment.

Such was the case for Jeff and Chris Schmidt, owners of a summer rental property on the bayfront in Surf City. As his wife tried to hold back her tears, Schmidt said, “It’s all just too overwhelming right now.”

The lower level of their home had furniture strewn everywhere and the water line was about four feet up the wall. Outside, their boat like countless others sat on the ground.

In Ship Bottom, Dr. Robert Synder was collecting the computers, records and inventory from his optometrist practice.

He had sealed his doors in plastic and then sandbagged them, so the damage was somewhat contained but he was still out of business on LBI for now. “The only thing that is saving me is my office over in Tuckerton was spared,” said the Surf City resident.

The DiFiglio family was not so lucky. The owners of one of the only grocery stores on the island, their inventory was a total loss and layer of thick, sandy muck covered the floor.

Five National Guard troops had hopped off a bus headed to the command post at the Long Beach Township town hall to help them clear the store.

At the command center, any persons not directly connected to the emergency management effort were required to register and in some cases be escorted to where they needed to go.

Surveying the Boulevard between the command post and Surf City town hall, the damage did not appear to be that bad. The streets were relatively clear of sand, but as one looked closer you could see the high water marks on the homes alluding to the damage inside.

“I would estimate 80 to 90 percent on the borough had 3-5 feet of water above the street level, so all low lying homes are damaged,” said Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck.

The mayor said they are now keeping an eye on the national weather forcast before making any plans to allow residents back. "There is a chance we are geting a nor'easter early next week. Until we see what happens with that we are holding off on letting people back," hesaid.

He also advised all homeowners to begin making arrangements to have their homes winterized once they can gain access. It could be months before the gas is turned on and no one is going to have gas heat before then, he said.

Along the bayfront, as in Surf City, the damage was also very apparent.

The oceanfront beaches in Brant Beach to Surf City appeared in tact and little damage was noted to the oceanfront homes.

This was opposed to further north and south on LBI  in places like Hogate and North Beach. In the area I saw, the dunes held but the drop offs were dramatic.

Along the newly replenished dunes in Brant Beach, the long incline leading up the dunes were fine. But at the crest, there was no path down just a 15-20 foot plunge to the beach.

There is a schedulled press conference later Sunday morning at the Command Cetnter in Brant Beach. Patch will update you as more details are released.

liz b November 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
this article is not factual- there is more than one grocery store on LBI. murphy's and acme to name two.
Colleen Platt November 04, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Hello all, here is some updated information about access to the island... http://barnegat-manahawkin.patch.com/articles/lbi-emergency-management-officials-likely-to-begin-grab-and-go-system-tomorrow
Lin Rubright November 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Martin - where are you and what do you need? Be specific with sizes and items. We are in Medford, NJ - about an hour West. Many of our town residents have homes and are long time visitors to beloved LBI. Many residents here are starting collections for shelters in the area. Our family and our local non-profit will be offering assistance and bringing food and donations directly to the shore area. Anyone reading this post in need of assistance can contact us via email at natasha@affie.org or rebecca@affie.org to let us know what you need. We are planning a trip down on Tuesday. We can bring food, water, paper products, clothing and health and hygiene items. Wishing you all a better day and hoping for little impact with the upcoming storm. Sincerely, Lin, Executive Director of the Anna Foundation
Lin Rubright November 04, 2012 at 06:02 PM
We are in Medford, NJ - about an hour West. Many of our town residents have homes and are long time visitors to beloved LBI. Many residents here are starting collections for shelters in the area. Our family and our local non-profit will be offering assistance and bringing food and donations directly to the shore area. Anyone reading this post in need of assistance can contact us via email at natasha@affie.org or rebecca@affie.org to let us know what you need. We are planning a trip down on Tuesday and subsequent days after. We will be bringing meals and desserts with us. We can bring food, water, paper products, clothing and health and hygiene items to hand out. Please email us with what you need and we will do our best to collect these items and bring them down to you. Wishing you all a better day and hoping for little impact with the upcoming storm. Sincerely, Lin Rubright, Executive Director of the Anna Foundation
James Hare November 04, 2012 at 06:14 PM
All families are in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time JP Hare Electric 732-237-4978
Deb banner November 04, 2012 at 06:20 PM
JP electric. Are you leaving your number because you will do work and check things on the island for free??? Because if your using the patch for advertisement it's against the rules and I will report you and your company!
John B Taxpayer November 04, 2012 at 06:43 PM
BHWest if your house was on a slab, most likely, it isn't any longer.....
James Hare November 04, 2012 at 06:43 PM
We are not advertising on here it was a kind words we wanted to share w many customers families are in our thoughts and prayers!!! We have been giving telephone support to many questions regarding Staying Safe w electric JP HareElectic
ruby lande November 04, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Any news in Ortley?
Danielle Gold November 04, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Alfred Newman - how heartless are you? Has your home been destroyed? And all you can think about is no tourists. If it wasn't for the tourist LBI wouldn't be what it is today. God Bless everyone affected by this horrible tragedy. We will rebuild LBI!
carrie November 04, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Deb banner....really!!! Lol
carrie November 04, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I worked in barnegat for 6 years and some of my family still live there...I feel heartful for those who hard truly nice but there are a lot of people that are not nice on that island LBI....so don't throw stones about benniees or outsiders...there would be no. LBI without us. And those who are I only concerned about traffic in the summer...really....
Jeannie Blythe November 04, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Danielle, I know they will rebuild that beautiful area. Alfred Newman is a very sick person and most likely was not affected by THIS particular tragedy. God bless all who were hurt one way or another due to Sandy.
Jessica November 04, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Jgs... anything you can tell me about east 29th street in ship bottom would be so helpful! Thanks!
Tom Reynolds November 04, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Does anyone know anything about west 93rd street?
Jim G November 05, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Was in BH West all day at my brothers on Andrew Drive. In that area it is horrible, all houses are damaged some maybe total loses. It was a real eye opener, many people are down emptying the contents of their homes. Mud and marsh grass everywhere. OTher sections (down by Hucks store) were not so bad. The township is doing a great job with trash trucks and dumpters on most streets. Trashmen told us that there are sections worse than Andrew drive, God help those people. The water line in my brothers rancher was four feet up the wall!
rochelle gochman November 05, 2012 at 01:47 AM
How is Colgate and the mobile home community? Did any houses in Colgate get washed away?
rochelle gochman November 05, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I meant holgate beach avenue
linda November 05, 2012 at 01:55 AM
would love to be confirmed that i can get to ship bottom this coming week-end to see what is what. i am an owner..living on the island may - october..not yr. round. i DO PAY TAXES..and WATER BILLS just like a yr. round resident.. when will an ORGANIZED entry system be implemented??...soon i hope...to drive down from north jersey (with the gas shortage going on) and not be able to get on for a reasonable amount of time is crazy...lets have some answers for SHIP BOTTOM...ok???....
SB Resident November 05, 2012 at 10:55 AM
I have a friend who sent me pics of a Ship Bottom councilman,s personal home with ServicePro trucks parked outside professionally cleaning and the mayor's home with a private contractor doing the same. All this while residents still cannot gain access to our proprties !!!!! I tried to get on the island yesterday and the borough secretary was standing at the entrance with a list and was border line abusive with her language and tones when denying entry. I witnessed a Ship Bottom businessman she denied and called police to get out of the line. All the while elected officials are getting thir homes cleaned by professionals.
John B Taxpayer November 05, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Holgate had a new inlet as the island was cut by the ocean......
CINDY ERICKSON November 05, 2012 at 07:41 PM
STOP WHINING ALL OF YOU-YOU HAVE TURNED WHAT USED TO BE A BEAUTIFUL BEACH AREA INTO ANOTHER NEW YORK CITY-A BAR AND RESTAURANT ON EVERY CORNER-TOO MUCH SHOPPING-WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO A NICE QUIET BEACH VACATION-WHERE THE KIDS WOULD BE PLAYING ON THE BEACH ENJOYING A HEALTHY VACATION-
Glosey November 05, 2012 at 11:52 PM
kudos to you danielle... very nicely put...... i am a renter in surf city and i love the island as if i was year long resident...... my heart goes out to all that was affected by this terrible storm.......... god bless you all...................
Carole Raively November 06, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Amen. I have been going to LBI since I was 2 years old, and started a family tradition with my own family. We have a camper in Barnegat, we were spared. I pray for all the people who have been affected by this tragedy. Stay safe.
Concerned taxpayer November 06, 2012 at 07:55 PM
How did the mayor and chief councilman of Ship Bottom and their families and businesses get cleaned up prior to people being allowed on the island? Ithought public officials were there to help the residents not take advantage of their position to put themselves first!!
John B Taxpayer November 06, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Just Like the clowns of Barnegat, Melchiondo and Cirulli having electric while the residents suffer! Rot in hell you bastards!
rhonda vidal November 07, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Hello i live in california n trying to contact a dear n long time friend. His name is denis kirby he n wife cheryl live in shipbottom nj. I have been very worried fpr them please if anyone knows of them please,please E-mail me Rlvidal@ymail.com Thank you n prayers r w/u all
John B Taxpayer November 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
And you're not surprised? Hope he's comfortable with his conscience!
Jen Light Dun November 09, 2012 at 01:34 PM
All: Officials do not want to open up 72 AGAIN so people sit in traffic for three plus hours and get more stressed and increase chances of fights n looting. They are trying to come up with an "organized" plan of re-entry. Ie.Set the island up into four sections by towns and section one goes Monday and section two goes Tuesday etc.
Surf City Fan November 09, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Who proofreads your articles? Terrible spelling and grammar.

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