Severe Thunderstorm Event

 Friday, June 22, 2012


This report contains information that was prepared by the Township Administator in order to keep Township staff updated on damage caused by the severe thunderstorm of Friday, June 22, 2012.

Report – Friday, June 22, 2011 – 8:00PM

Barnegat was impacted by a number of severe thunderstorms today between the hours of roughly noon to 6:00pm. As a result, the Township experienced around 7 inches of rain, occasional strong winds, hail and considerable lighting. Fortunately, damage was minor in nature and there were no major incidents from the storms. Flooding was the greatest concern as many roads had much standing water which made driving difficult. At times during the afternoon, certain sections of Route 9 came close to being impassable. By far, route 9 was our most problematic road during the storms and most likely the Township needs to discuss the road flooding with the state Department of Transportation. Flooding conditions on route 9 were unacceptable today.

Power outages were isolated and sporadic throughout the afternoon. A portion of Mirage was without power for a few hours during the event. Several traffic signals lost power during the storm but police were able to provide necessary coverage. Barnegat Police lost their radio communications in the afternoon and are using a Stafford Township Police channel to maintain communications. The radio repair company responded promptly and are currently working to restore the system. Repairs should be completed by 10:00pm. Problem appears to be the repeater. At NO time were police without the ability to properly communicate. In addition, Town Hall experienced some flooding in the basement and in the police technology room.

Both water wells west of the Garden State Parkway (wells 5 and 6) are down. The Township still has the ability to pump water west of the Parkway by using the booster pump across the street from Town Hall. Water and sewer personnel along with private contractors are attempting to repair the wells. At worst, if both wells cannot be fixed by Saturday morning, then the Township will have to prepare a Nixle message urging residents NOT to use their irrigation systems until the wells are once again operational. However, I am confident that Roger Budd and his staff will be able to get at least one (1) well up tonight. Will keep all posted on the well status.

Overall, Township public safety agencies handled the event extremely well. Was very proud of the effort. There was much coordination and support between police, fire, public works and water/sewer. While there was a period of time when call volume exceeded available resources, Township personnel and volunteers handled the incident in a calm, professional manner. The thunderstorms of today were yet another example of how well trained and prepared Township staff and volunteers are to handle an emergency situation. The Township’s emergency management function is clearly an effective and efficient operation very capable of taking care of Township residents during times of need.

Update Report – Saturday June 23, 2012 — 8:00AM

Water Wells

Well number 6 is operational as of 12:30am this morning. Well 5 is still out of service. Experiencing difficulty with the shaft and a private contractor with equipment to handle the work will be on site today. Both wells are in the Mirage community. Considering the cooler weather, at this time the Township is capable of meeting water demand. Roger Budd and his staff did an outstanding job in maintaining water and sewer service to the community during the event. Their ability to trouble shoot problems and repair them quickly is simply amazing. At NO time was water quality compromised. The water is SAFE for domestic use.

Electrical Outage

Chief Drexler reported last night that a power outage occurred at Pinewood and Brighton Mobile Home Parks. Police coordinate delivery of oxygen to those residents requiring medical assistance. In addition, Township was initially advised that some residents would be without power until Saturday morning. After contacting Atlantic City Electric Government Affairs Manager Ken Mosca and advising Mr. Mosca of the situation, repairs were rendered in a 3-4 hour time frame. The Township is fortunate to have Mr. Mosca representing the interest of the Township at Atlantic City Electric. He is extremely responsive to the needs of Barnegat.

Barnegat Volunteer Fire Company

Public Works Superintendent Mike Ball reported last night that Barnegat Fire did a commendable job clearing trees, tree parts and limbs from public roadways and other public areas, greatly reducing the amount of work required of Public Works to perform on overtime. My personal observation of Barnegat Fire indicated to me they had a plan of action to handle the multiple calls and coordinated efforts very well with the Township. They were impressive yesterday and their effort along with the work of all other agencies involved needs to be acknowledged.


Update Report – SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2012 – 8AM

Update as of June 24, 2012 on the status of Township wells along with other items impacted by the several thunderstorms experienced on Friday, June 22, 2012.

Water Wells

Well #6 is operational and is experiencing no problems after repairs were rendered. However, well #5 will remain out of service until most likely Friday June 29, 2012. The shaft of the well was bent and had to be removed along with the pump. An outside vendor will make necessary repairs to the well. In addition, the well will be videotaped to determine if further damage exist which cannot be seen from the surface.

Both these wells are located in the Mirage community in close proximity to the water tower. Historically, the Township has many problems associated with lighting strikes on water and sewer infrastructure in this area. On numerous occasions, Township water and sewer equipment related to the wells or the treatment plant at the water tower have been damaged or destroyed by lighting strikes. The Township has taken action to mitigate damage from lighting strikes in this area but has experienced limited success.

The exact cause of the damage to well #5 has not been determined. Obviously, it is storm related damage but whether it was a lighting strike or power issues that caused the damage remains unknown at this time. We suspect mutiple ligting strikes was a major contributing factor. Regardless, there appears to be a fair amount of damage to well #5 which will take almost a week to repair. The Township will file an insurance claim for this damage since cost of repairs will be significant and the damage was storm related.

Presently, with the services of well #5, the Township is able to meet the water demands west of the Parkway. The Township will continue to push west as much water as possible under the Garden State Parkway by using the booster pump located across from Town Hall. With a favorable weather forecast this week of rain on Monday and cool temperatures, it is the hope of the Township that we will be able to meet demand. Roger Budd and staff will monitor the status of the system and respond accordingly. There is the possibility that the Township might have to issue a Nixle message this week restricting irrigation and/or advise Mirage to limit irrigation until well #5 is on line. Those decisions will be made based on actual water system conditions being experienced during the week. Township staff will meet on Monday to discuss options.

As a last resort, the Township would use well #9 in order to maintain the integrity of the system. Water and sewer personnel are stockpiling chemicals at well #9 in case there is an urgent need to place the well into service. Will advise if we need to take that step, but again the use of well #9 will only be considered if all other options did not work. Again, it is important to not that water quality of safety was NEVER in question.

Cox House

Mike Ball, Public Works Superintendent, noticed some possible damage to the Cox House Friday night but was unable to assess the damage due to darkness. On Saturday, Mike Ball inspected the house and noted damage to the roof, siding along with many down tree parts and a general mess on the property. Unknown whether any interior damage to the structure occurred. By copy of this email, requesting that John Hess and Bruce Connell along with Rico Fisher and his staff inspect the property to assess damage. If damage does exist, possible insurance claim to repair the damage would be considered.

Township Wide Clean Up

Public Works had a clean up crew in on Saturday performing a Township wide clean up effort. Priority was given to removing hazards blocking and/or close to roadways or other public areas. Damage is very similar to what was experienced with Hurricane Irene with significant amounts of tree and vegetative waste to remove. The Township will have a special tree limb collection this week along with locating dumpsters at Town Hall for residents to drop off their storm debris. A Nixle message will be sent out Monday or Tuesday notifying residents of their storm debris disposal options.

Drainage Basins

Based on informal observations of the numerous drainage basins in the Township during and immediately after the event, they all appeared to be working properly considering the severity of event. The basins worked and did their job. Much credit should go to Township Engineers who review these basins plans submitted by developers over the years. The basins worked according to the approved plans.

Municipal Dock

The municipal dock parking lot was completely submerged and will take several days to completely drain and dry out. With the generally wet weather during the past several months, the Township has been experiencing problems with maintaining the lot. Public Works is allocating considerable resources to repairing the lot after heavy rainfalls and coastal storms. Consideration should be given to paving the lot.

Other damage to the municipal dock that occurred last week which is not storm related consist of damage to the bulkhead from a racing boat participating in the boat races last Sunday and a car driving into the band platform on Tuesday. John Hess and Bruce Connell inspected the band platform and were satisfied with repairs made by Pubic Works. The band platform will be ready for the summer concerts series which starts next weekend. Bulkhead damage assessment and repair work still needs to be completed.

Weather Summary

National Weather Service reports indicate rainfall amounts in the range of 5.77 to 7.60 inches of rain in norther Stafford, which would include the Barnegat area. A map prepared by the National Weather Service clearly illustrates that Stafford and Barnegat were the bulls’ eye of rainfall in New Jersey on Friday. According to National Weather Service reports, the Barnegat area experienced flooding rains, tropical storm force winds, marble size hail and dangerous cloud to ground lighting Friday afternoon and evening. It appears that the Settlers section of the community was hardest hit with the severe weather.


David Breeden

Township Administrator

Township of Barnegat, New Jersey