By Molly Daly

WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Dramatic video shows huge waves breaking over the seawall in North Wildwood Tuesday as Hurricane Jose passed by well out to sea. The wave action took a bite out of the shore community’s dunes.

“I’ve lived in North Wildwood for 40 years,” said Mayor Patrick Rosenello, “and these were the largest waves I’ve ever seen coming into town.”

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Rosenello says those waves chewed well into the dunes that line the shore where the seawall ends.

“There are dune cliffs that are 15 to 20 feet into the air if you are standing on the beach below them,” he said.

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Given the danger of collapse, Rosenello says the area’s been fenced off, and heavy equipment was brought in to stabilize the dunes.

Rosenello says their ragged state following the storm demonstrates their value.

“I have to remind people that’s exactly what the dunes are there for,” he said.

Rosenello says between the dunes and the seawall, the shore town is well defended.

“In North Wildwood alone, it’s protecting about $2.5 billion in public and private property,” the mayor said, “so we think it’s a good investment for all parties involved.”

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A little further north at Nun’s Beach in Stone Harbor there were signs the tide came up to the dunes but didn’t tear them apart.

At 10th Street in Avalon beachgoers who were happy to get outside after wind and rain all day on Tuesday noticed modest erosion.

“This was all basically even and today you do have the little swells and what not,” said Ben Dougherty, who was visiting Avalon. “The length of the beach is the same but probably dropped down, the sand is hard now.”

The erosion was much more severe in Ocean City where the Jose’s waves carved head high cliffs in the dunes at 5th Street. Rocks normally buried under several feet of sand are exposed.

And in areas where the dunes are completely washed out you can see how water passed under the boardwalk at high tide while Jose passed offshore.

“Before we didn’t have cliffs these aren’t high cliffs but it’s just a sharp drop and before it was a gradual sloping down toward the ocean,” said Mark McElwee.

Dangerous surf and rip currents are expected to continue for several days.


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