One Year Later: Shore Lifeguards, Residents, Business Owners Reflect on Irene
Irene made some residents lives 'miserable'
One year ago Sunday, Point Pleasant Beach resident David Nadle watched as the waves pounded over the boardwalk near Risden's Beach.
Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, hung off the coast, and was about to make for a very "miserable" few days for Nadle.
"We lost power for six days," he recalled, sitting Sunday on the same Risden's Beach he visited last year.
He said the wind and waves that were along the beach today, which forced lifeguards to limit swimming to those areas marked off with yellow flags, were "nothing" compared to those seen with Irene.
Even though his neighborhood was not evacuated, Nadle said he had to leave home until the electrical problems were remedied. He added even though he has lived in this area for years, he does not ever recall a storm response such as he saw with Irene.
Mike Woods, who is a manager at Risden's Bath House, echoed Nadle's sentiments. He said debris cleanup took days after Irene, and that work was despite the fact that the dunes held and managed to protect most of the businesses along the beach.
Woods, who has worked with Risden's for nine years, called Irene's wrath the "worst he's ever seen," noting that waves washed over the boardwalk and into neighboring parking areas.
Poin Beach's Chief Lifeguard Bill Cook, who was keeping a watchful eye over the beach today in light of the rip currents, recalled waves washing into a condominium parking lot. He said the beach patrols prepare for every storm the same way, in that they take precautions, day by day, hour by hour, and revise swim conditions accordingly.
Away from the beach, toward the center of town, business owners on Arnold Avenue recalled having a very different "sale day" this year than last.
Beautiful temperatures today brought several shoppers to Sharon Murphy's store, Idiosyncrazies. But on this day last year, her store was boarded up, in preparation for the storm.
"It actually wasn't as bad as what everyone thought," Murphy recalled today, adding that she really only had to close her business for one day.
She said she only recalled one other time in her life as a Jersey Shore resident that there was an evacuation effort similar to that seen with Irene, and that was during Hurricane Hugo.
Meanwhile, in Point Borough, over on Briarwood Lane, Mark Bokop, who was one of only three families on his block to stay despite recommended evacuations, noted how different his day today is, compared with last year.
Today, he enjoyed swimming in his pool, while last year at this time, he was busy shuttering his windows against the pending storm. He said he decided to stay because he had a generator in his house and was prepared for a power outage.
"I remember thinking to myself that the media always plays up these storms, and sometimes they aren't as bad as they make it out to be," Bokop said. "We didn't fare too badly, just some downed limbs and trees, but overall, no problems."