As Hurricane Irene approached the New Jersey coastline, I was reminded of the Nor’easter that struck the Outer Banks and then destroyed Ocean City and Margate between March 6 and 7, 1962. This storm was not of hurricane strength and I believe maximum winds only reached 60mph; however, 30’ waves struck the coastline ripping up the boardwalk and utterly destroyed the cottages, beach houses, and mansions along Ocean Cities waterfront. While most of these structures were made of wood in those days, many brick and stone homes were also destroyed.
As this storm approached the coast I was actually in route to Atlantic City to get my vehicle’s annual automobile inspection, but the wind was already so strong it stood my windshield wipers straight out and ripped off the rubber wiper blades, and I had to turn back. A few days after the storm passed, I took these photographs:
NOTE: For some strange reason, the first 2 or 3 photographs in this slide show insist on repeating 2 or 3 times; please be patient and keep clicking on the forward arrow. All 27 photos will then appear in sequence.
As you can see from those pictures, some of the shore homes were buried up to their roofs in sand; others were reduced to a pile of rubble, and others only had a stove or bathtub or chimney left for identification purposes.
Fortunately, Hurricane Irene spared the city this time! Although I do not have any damage reports as of today, August 29, 2011, relatives who live just a few miles inland from Ocean City tell me the storm was not as destructive in the area as was expected.