On Saturday morning, a derecho ripped through the Jersey Shore. No, that’s not some new kind of tex-mex dish. It’s a powerful wind that pushes through with a thunderstorm — similar to a tornado that blows as a line instead of a funnel.
I spent last week at Avalon Campground in Cape May Courthouse, and the storm woke me up at about 1 a.m. We’d had a heck of a boomer on Friday morning, so I figured we were in for another. But as the wind picked up, I started to worry. I was, after all, in a trailer.
So I hopped onto Twitter and saw I wasn’t the only one woken up by the storm. Friends on the islands tweeted about flying boogie boards and trash cans, and worries about patio furniture. A half hour later, the winds subsided. A tree hadn’t fallen through the roof, so I went back to sleep.
I didn’t realize the damage of the storm until the next morning. I spent my summers at Avalon Campground from birth to 17 and sat out my fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes, but I’d never seen so much debris on the roads after a storm. Through much of my morning run, I pulled branches off of the road. A few trees had fallen, thankfully not on campers in tents (two boys in Salem County had been killed by a falling tree).
Fortunately, the campground has very few above ground power lines, so when trees came down, they weren’t bringing live wires with them, and whatever fell out of the trees had either hit the road or were too small to do much damage.
We didn’t get the brunt of the storm. That was on the island home to Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport. As of this morning, more than 150,000 people are still without power. The Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway look like they suffered the wrath of a giant toddler who threw a tantrum and snapped trees and tipped over port a potties.
If you’re headed down the shore this week, check to make sure where you’re going has power. Wherever or whenever you go, make sure you stay tuned into the weather. If a storm is coming, take in your boogie boards and trash cans, and take down any umbrellas.
I hope we don’t get another derecho anytime soon, but stranger things have happened.