life in cape may

The May Nor 'easter 2008

Posted 5/12/08
By Jane Kashlak and Paul Kerlinger

Cape May, NJ - The fierce winds woke us. Gusts up to 50 to 60 miles per hour were wrapping themselves around our house.

It was still dark outside but it was also dark inside. The power was out. Turns out, we weren't the only ones. Thousands of people in Cape May County had no power, thanks to our unseasonable Nor 'easter.

We knew this was not an ordinary storm when we went out to get coffee and saw whitecaps on the normally placid back bays. Marshes that had been green the day before had disappeared overnight beneath surging sea water.

But that was nothing compared to the sight at Cape May's Cove Beach.

Mountains of water rolled in, creating one of the most awesome views imaginable. Waves eight feet or more crashed on the shore, sending up geysers of sea mist.

We shuddered to think what was happening to the million dollar sand job on those beaches.

Along with the wind and water, we saw downed trees everywhere. In our neighborhood, a hundred year old cedar, a chunk of a big silver maple and a good part of our beloved old birch tree bit the dust.

A section of New England Road was closed for much of the day. The entire intersection of Perry and Sunset in West Cape May also was closed in the afternoon, not for a downed tree, but for fear of a wobbly utility pole.

On the way out to Wildwood, we saw utility lines swinging like jump ropes in the wind. When I opened up the car window to take a picture, I was blasted with wet easterly winds. Bad idea!

The wind seemed most fierce at the North Wildwood seawall, erected to hold back the waves. Climbing the steps to the top of the seawall was like scaling Mount Everest.

Sprays of water from overactive waves were starting to top the wall. North Wildwood had declared a state of emergency because of fears of coastal flooding.

The ocean was churning big time.

There was something mesmerizing about the ocean throwing its considerable weight around. We decided to check back one more time on Cape May's beaches.

That's when we saw the picture of the day. Some surfer dudes - those normally fearless creatures who jump into any water at any time of year - were standing on the beach, just watching the crashing waves.

This time, the force of this May Nor 'easter was just too mighty, even for them.

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