Friday was a record day for Feb. 8 in terms of rainfall at the Atlantic City International Airport. But while most of the heavy rain and expected snowfall in the region Friday was manageable, there are still some flooding concerns for today.
The National Weather Service reported the airport in Egg Harbor Township received a record amount of rainfall — 1.72 inches — for Feb. 8. Patrick O’Hara, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the total almost doubled the previous Feb. 8 record of .91 inches set in 1974.
Most places in South Jersey received 1.5 inches to 2 inches of rain Friday, O’Hara said. The rainfall cleared out of most of the region by 6 p.m. Millville had .85 inches and Wildwood had 1.63 inches.
The region was expected to see some snow late Friday night and early today, but O’Hara said only about an inch was expected. Previous reports had forecast between 3 to 6 inches of snow.
There was a minor coastal flooding warning throughout the day Friday and some flooding was reported in typical areas, but there were no major problems. The region fared much better than other parts of the state, especially the northern portion which was expected to receive nearly a foot of snow, said weather service meteorologist Walter Drag.
There was still a coastal flooding warning in effect for the area today, but Drag said he did not expect any serious problems or flooding beyond the usually vulnerable areas. High tide in Atlantic City is set for 6:24 a.m. with a water level of 7 feet to 7.5 feet above the average low tide. In Cape May, high tide is scheduled for 6:59 a.m. with water levels 8 feet above the average low tide.
Atlantic City Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Foley said the city received about an inch and a half of rain Friday, but flooding was confined to the streets and he heard no reports of flooding in homes.
“It seemed to work well for us,” he said.
Parts of southern Ocean County, which were hit hard by last year’s Hurricane Sandy, also lucked out with this storm, said Tuckerton Mayor George “Buck” Evans.
“There’s no issue,” he said Friday night. “We should be OK.”
The state reported some lane closures Friday night due to flooding, including the White Horse Pike in Absecon, the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township, Route 47 in Wildwood and Route 72 in Stafford.
In coastal towns, the reaction of yet another storm bringing flooding and beach erosion into the area could be boiled down to two words.
“Praying and hoping,” said Kim Ryon, owner of the Rain Florist shop in Ventnor Heights, which saw several feet of water during Hurricane Sandy.
In Brigantine, acting Fire Chief Jim Holl said that the projected tides will likely mean the city’s streets will flood today, but it’s nothing the city can’t handle.
“It’s nothing more than usual, and our apparatuses are designed for that level,” he said.
Holl said the department was following the weather bulletins and had taken the usual precautions, with snow chains ready in case major snowfall occurs.
“My big concern is that this weather system has been described as similar to the storm of ’78, so I was like, ‘Uh-oh.’” he said.
Veterans of Sandy, meanwhile, seemed to take this storm in stride Friday.
“I’m not anticipating anything,” said Marlene Miller, owner of the Marielena boutique on Ventnor Avenue in Margate, which just reopened five weeks ago following flood damage from Sandy. “(But) that’s what I said last time. … This street usually floods if it rains hard for 20 minutes. But it’s doing pretty good today so far.”
At Maynard’s Café on Margate’s hard-hit Amherst Avenue, Lyn Gardner had a simple answer when asked what she was doing to prepare for the storm: She pointed to the beer bottle on the bar in front of her.
“We came to Maynard’s,” the Longport resident said. “And if the power goes out, they have a generator.”
Added Colleen Ashenbrenner of Margate, “I moved my car. That’s about it.”
“The highest point is Maynard’s parking lot,” joked David Torker, of Northfield, referring to the lot across the street from the bay.
Across the bar, Dave Bingham knew all about what rising waters could do — he lost his house in Reeds Beach, Middle Township, after Sandy.
“They had a dozen homes condemned out of 80,” Bingham said. “We just went to settlement last Thursday and someone bought (his property), so no worries now.”
Bingham has been working on reconstructing a beachfront home in Longport, which was now “all battened down, everything nailed down and covered up. Now I’m taking it easy, and we’ll see what happens.”
Down the street, Jenna Watson was planning to leave for D.C. before the storm really hit. And while the barbershop across the street puts up sandbags for every storm, she didn’t feel too worried.
“I’m from Canada,” Watson explained. “This for us is a regular little rainfall.”
In Ventnor Heights, Annette’s Restaurant owner Cheryl Venezia — who dealt with a walk-in refrigerator washing up in her parking lot after Sandy — echoed her neighbor Ryon.
“I’m praying a lot,” she said. “We’ve never really been affected by high tides, and hopefully the only time ever that we’ll get water in the restaurant was in the last storm. But we’ve put chairs on top of tables anyway.”
Back at Rain Florist, Ryon just hopes that she’s seen the last of any flooding.
“I tell customers I hope I’m dead before there’s 30 inches of water coming into the store again,” Ryon said.
Staff writers Anjalee Khemlani and Wallace McKelvey contributed to this report.
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