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March 9, 2013

'Where's our beach? It's gone!'

Salisbury loses tremendous amount of sand; storm uncovers old buildings


His home is located at the far end of Atlantic Avenue, Egan said. Looking farther south to Salisbury Beach State Reservation, he believes 10 feet of dunes may have been lost.

“I’ve never seen the receding of the dunes at the reservation this bad,” Egan said. “And this is the worst I’ve ever seen the north end of the beach.”

Similar to the impact of February’s blizzard, as high tide hit Friday morning, areas of North End Boulevard were scoured by the sea.

By 6:58 a.m. — an hour and a half prior to peak high tide — waves were washing over dunes, bringing seawater streaming between homes and onto North End Boulevard in the area of the mid-two hundred block. Shortly after, waves crashed over the snow fencing, sweeping across Ocean Front South.

On roadways, signs of the ocean’s power were everywhere, as pieces of snow fencing and boardwalks lay twisted on the pavement, deposited by waves gone wild.

Police blocked off Broadway early yesterday, stopping storm watchers from getting too close to the boiling ocean at about 8 a.m.

Emergency officials, with the help of the Methuen’s Army National Guard, blocked off Beach Road by 8:30 at the entrance to Salisbury Beach State Reservation. The tide-filled salt marsh had overflowed its banks, covering the road to a level so deep it was considered hazardous to travel.

Broadway and Driftway, two beach access areas where wash-overs often occur, were saved by preventative measures taken Thursday by Public Works officials. According to DPW foreman Ray Cody, nine huge truckloads of beach sand were purchased by the town and used to build 8-foot berms at the head of both roads.

The berms kept the sea from inundating Salisbury Beach Center on Thursday night, but the tide took its toll, he said. The berms had to be rebuilt for Friday morning’s event.

Further inland, orange cones and a Salisbury police van greeted travelers on Ferry Road during the tide’s peak, when high water filled the wetlands to overflowing, closing off one lane of travel.

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