Reed’s Beach After Sandy

Reed’s Beach, NJ – Hurricane Sandy may change forever the fragile Delaware bayshore community of Reed’s Beach, built on the edge of a salt marsh.  Three days after the superstorm hit, several of the homes have been declared unsafe and unlivable.

Sandy’s unrelenting winds curled around Cape May County, picking up power as the storm  hurtled across Delaware Bay.  The fierce northwesterly, then westerly winds and waves continued unabated for hours, crumpling entire houses in Reed’s Beach.

Bayside retreats turned into piles of matchsticks.

Without a beach or dune to protect them,  Reed’s Beach houses took the full brunt of the storm’s force.

This Delaware bayshore community, literally built on stilts on the edge of the water, has watched over the years as constant erosion has brought the bay closer and closer to its doorstep. Sandy just speeded up the process.

Much of the storm’s damage took place on the bayside part of homes, where the winds and waves ripped doors and walls from houses. Sandy’s strong waves eroded the foundations, allowing water to push parts of the houses upwards.

One major concern now is sanitation. The waterfront community relies on septic tanks and well water.  Middle Township has contacted the County Health Department, asking the County to verify that the drinking water is still safe.

Major repairs are needed to bring many of the dwellings back up to code.

Other communities farther up the bayshore, like Thompson’s Beach and Moore’s Beach, have already succumbed to the advancing Delaware Bay.  If Reed’s Beach homeowers decide to rebuild,  it’s not a question of if but when they’ll face nature’s next assault.

About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak is a journalist, a gardener and a Cape Island resident. She's also Cape May Times' photographer. She founded Cape May Times after a long and lively career in TV news.