The Borough of Avalon is located on the Atlantic Ocean coastline in Cape May County, New Jersey, and is comprised of approximately four square miles of barrier beach. The Borough is geographically surrounded by inlet, bay and ocean waters, which each year presents a constant threat to this community from Nor’easters and tropical-borne storm activity, introducing severe flooding impacts.
Avalon is most vulnerable to tidal flooding accompanying nor’easters, hurricanes, and tropical storms. While the flooding from these hazards may be similar in depth, nor’easters have historically caused the most significant damage. This is due to the duration of these nor’easters compared to hurricanes or tropical storms. Nor’easters often persist through several tidal cycles, which can result in repeated and persistent erosion of the oceanfront beaches and dunes, delay and impede emergency response, and increase the risk of property damage from repeated cycles of impact during high tide.
Hurricanes and tropical storms pose threat similar to that from nor’easters. Although the likelihood of a direct impact from a hurricane is low compared to nor’easters, storm surges may exceed those of nor’easters, and can cause extensive wind damage. Furthermore, since the hurricane season extends throughout the tourist season, the community is vulnerable to other impacts from these events, including difficulties in evacuating large numbers of people from the community in advance of the storm, and significant negative impact to the local economy and business community.
Severe rain events can result in moderate flooding throughout portions of the Borough, especially in the event of a failure of the stormwater conveyance system or pump stations. Furthermore, these events can also occur during the summer months, when the negative impact, due to the presence of a large numbers of vacationers and residents, would be magnified.
Avalon, along with many other eastern coastal communities, has been historically subject to flooding, beach erosion and many other associated problems that require an aggressive approach to successfully manage infrastructure maintenance and disaster damage mitigation. Avalon’s multi-faceted approach to protect and maintain its infrastructure, natural areas, and the public safety, welfare, and property of its residents, has been developed over many years and continues to improve annually with the implementation of improvements and the adoption of new municipal ordinances and resolutions in conjunction with assistance from outside public and private agencies. Avalon continues to pursue and improve upon methods to educate its residents, protect its coastline, manage its infrastructure and natural areas, and efficiently prepare for, and recover from these flood related events.