New Jersey has been struck with damaging hurricanes and northeasters many times. These black and white aerial photographs of Ventnor-Atlantic City, Brigantine, and Barnegat Lighthouse areas were taken on 15 September 1944, and 24 October 1944. They show damage to the boardwalk and to structures caused by the "Great Atlantic Hurricane" of 13-14 September, 1944. The storm first made landfall as a Category 3 near Cape Hatteras. It moved out to sea again and made a second landfall on eastern Long Island on September 14, after causing significant damage along the New Jersey shore. Of the 390 people who perished, 340 were lost on ships at sea (some of them servicemen on convoys). The storm was so powerful, it sank the US Navy destroyer USS Warrington (DD-383) about 700 km east of Vero Beach, FL, with a loss of 248 sailors (see The Dragon's Breath: Hurricane at Sea by Robert A. Dawes (Jr.), Naval Institute Press, Mar 1, 1996 - 222 pages).
The low death toll on land was due to well-executed warnings and evacuations, a result of the bitter lessons of the great New England Hurricane of 1938. However, thousands of houses and businesses were destroyed and damaged along the Jersey shore. Pielke and Landsea (1998) calculated the total damage in 1995 Dollars to be $6.5 billion. (See: Pielke, R.A., Jr., and Landsea, C.W. 1998. Normalized hurricane damages in the United States: 1925-95. Weather and Forecasting, 13(3), 621–631).
The source of original paper prints is the archive of the Beach Erosion Board (predecessor of the former Coastal Engineering Research Center), presently stored at the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA. Original image condition: excellent, with full tonal range, printed on single-weight glossy paper. The printing date is unknown but believed to be 1944. The prints are in a BEB folder labeled 11-12, 11-13, 11-14, and 11-15. The photographic platform is unknown, but possibly a blimp. The BEB index book cites the U.S. Navy as source. Camera, focal length, film: unknown. The frames were not taken on a 9x9-inch aerial camera but on some other camera with a frame size approx. 6x7 inch. Total number of frames is 11. The filename includes a 4-digit number, which was written in pencil on the back of each frame.
For more information on historical hurricanes and construction of storm surge barriers in New England and New Jersey, see:
Morang, A. 2016. Hurricane Barriers in New England and New Jersey: History and Status after Five Decades. Journal of Coastal Research: Volume 32, Issue 1: pp. 181 – 205.
Update 2017: An article in Politico describes how the National Flood Insurance Program encourages people to build in flood-prone areas and rewards them to file claims after storm events. In effect, it is a giant subsidy to the building and development industry.