Watching Hurricane Jose in Cape May

- Gusts whip windmills like toys in Cape May today as fisherman Frank Rao double-checks lines on a boat he works on.   You can’t be too careful.   “You never know,” he says, tying a rope to a cleat.   “So you’ve got to keep watching the weather, check the winds, all that kind of stuff.”

Watching the weather and communicating is what Cape May Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Lundholm says he and his team to do as any storm like Jose approaches.   

“Let the people know to be prepared for some heavy wind or rain or maybe some flooding,” he says as we drive along Beach Avenue.   “And then again if it was a major incident, we would stress evacuation.”   He adds that evacuation is not in the works for Hurricane Jose.

Cape May participates in a county program to look after the disabled on days like these and Rick says seniors are a big priority, too.   Cape May faces mainly south, so storm surges hit it differently than most shore towns.   It used to get more flooding before years of dune replenishments; now it’s not so bad.   But those replenishments have to be monitored.   

Cape May EMS’s IT guy has begun to use a drone to do that.   “Which helps us when we go to the Army Corps of Engineers and the US government about beach replenishment,” says Dan Shustack, as he pilots the new drone above the shoreline.    “It shows where the sand’s being taken away,  it shows where the sand’s being added.”

It also shows rip currents.   For surfers, the towering waves created by Jose create a field day.    Cape May keeps its beach patrol on the clock through the end of the month just in case.   A weird storm, this Hurricane Jose, one that has to be watched closely in order for us to respond properly.  I’m Hank – and that’s my take.

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