Forensic EngineeringOwners BlogComplete devastation from Superstorm Sandy

During my third visit to Inspect homes damaged by Hurricane – Superstorm Sandy, I was offered the opportunity to tour Bay Head, New Jersey.  Just a mile south of my previous inspection visit to Point Pleasant, I was completely taken back by the devastating winds and surge the powerful storm left behind.

The National Guard restricts access to Bay Head NJ

The National Guard restricts access to Bay Head NJ

Once past the National Guard thanks to special credentials, what I witnessed was the most devastating sights in my career to date. The vast destruction was a study like no other of its kind, encompassing miles of damage far greater than I experienced from my inspections after Hurricane Andrew, far more wind damage than all of hundreds of Hurricane Wilma inspections, much more significant water & surge damage than any of Hurricane Katrina inspections, more signs of fatigue and driving rain than Ike, Frances, Jean, Charlie, Rita, and others of their kind.  Adding the new element of freezing temperatures and expanding ice, and potentially crushing snow now leaves a trail of defects, both visible and latent like no other storm to date.

Why This Was So Important

Inspecting wind damage of failed roofs, windows, siding, framing, and other building components in Bay Head provides a 100% failure benchmark, offering valuable clues for other inspections that might not readily show signs of damage in neighboring areas.  It makes this storm very real, impacting buildings in ways many local inspecting engineers and unfamiliar insurance property adjusters have yet to understand.  It makes our work here all the more valuable and necessary as we forge ahead.

 

I’ll be returning for my 4th trip next week, making my way from Atlantic City to New York to see more of Sandy’s damage across the coast, inspecting many impacted areas along the way, and comparing them relative to ‘ground zero’.  In the meanwhile, here are some photographs of Bay Head to offer some perspective of what I experienced.  Take a close look, there’s quite a bit to take in.

Beyond The Checkpoint: Sandy Damage

Devastated houses in Bay Head New Jersey from Sandy Damage

Once past the national guard, the neighborhood resembles a war zone from a foreign country

 

Unbelievable sights in Bay Head New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy's wrath

Surreal experiences walking up to houses like this one that have been totally devastated by Sandy’s destructive wrath.
It’s hard to believe the first floor just vanished in its place.

 

Complete devastation from Superstorm Sandy

Hundreds of beach homes like this line the coast of New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy’s devastating winds and surge

 

More damage from Sandy in Bay Head NJ

The scene gets worse as I travel into Bay Head New Jersey inspecting houses destroyed from Sandy

 

Sandy turned two story houses to one

Pic 1 of 2: Look closely, this used to be a 2 story beach house, now completely off of its foundation

 

Sandy turned two story houses to one

Pic 2 of 2: another view of this Bay Head NJ beach house shows the house lifted off its foundation and the first floor completely washed away leaving the second floor devastated by wind and water.

 

House moved across the street from Superstorm Sandy

This house was moved across the street only to be stopped after colliding with another house in the area.
Others nearby were moved hundreds of feet off their foundation

 

Bay Head New Jersey Shorline Devastated from Sandy

This view of the shoreline of Bay Head, New Jersey shows devastated houses in the wake of destructive winds and surge from Sandy

 

Frank Bennardo PE inspects house devastated by Sandy

Frank L. Bennardo PE examines a house with multiple causation failures from Sandy. Wind, surge, rain, freezing temperatures, and flood all left their mark on this condemned structure leaving valuable clues behind for less obvious inspections. Don’t try this without the supervision of a licensed professional!

 

Wind and Surge Devastated this Bay Head NJ Beach house after Sandy

Wind and Surge Devastated this Bay Head NJ Beach house after Sandy

 

Roof damage, broken windows, and compromised siding all from the destructive winds of Superstorm Sandy.
This house was then affected by the incredible storm surge leading to a total loss of the structure

 

Massive wind and storm surge ripped off the patio and destroyed this Bay Head NJ home

Massive wind and storm surge ripped off the patio deck, scoured the roof and walls, compromised windows, siding,
and the foundation of this Bay Head NJ house

 

The entire commercial shoreline was also devastated by Sandy in Point Pleasant NJ

Houses weren’t the only thing destroyed on the coast of New Jersey. Miles of commercial structures including this beach carnival
in Point Pleasant NJ were also completely demolished

 

Sandy Damage:  Taking the Information Back to Nearby Areas

Being able to study failure modes in Bay Head NJ provided valuable clues as to why siding, roofing, windows, and the overall structure failed or are now in a state of  ‘almost failed’, now fatigued, compromised, and no longer water resistant as before the storm in neighboring areas.   This house was obvious, others inspected showed lesser signs of failure not so obvious to others.

 

Siding easily ripped off of houses on route from Point Pleasant, NJ to Bay head

Superstorm Sandy rips off siding not equipped for the destructive winds in Point Pleasant, NJ.
 Inspecting homes just a mile away in Bay Head provides valuable clues as to failure modes in nearby houses such as this.

 

We’ll be placing full time staff up there after my tour next week so there will be a lot more to follow.

 ALL PHOTOGRAPHS WERE TAKEN BY FRANK L BENNARDO PE AND ARE OWNED BY ENGINEERING EXPRESS.  THEY CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION BY THE FIRM (YES, EVEN THE ONE WITH ME IN IT, THAT WAS TAKEN USING MY CAMERA TIMER!) (C) 2012 FRANK L. BENNARDO, P.E., INC.