In coastal towns, the reaction as yet another storm bringing flooding and beach erosion roars into the area can 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.
It may not be as bad as that historic storm, but places just starting to come back from the water damage suffered in October will have to worry about minor to moderate flooding during this current storm.
While the area will avoid the blizzard-like conditions in North Jersey, New York and New England – with a snow accumulation of 1 to 4 inches in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties and 3 to 6 inches in parts of Ocean County – the real issue along the shore is the tides.
The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning beginning at 4 p.m. Friday lasting until 11 a.m. Saturday, with widespread minor to moderate flooding beginning with Friday’s 6:19 p.m. high tide in Atlantic City.
The most serious flooding is likely to occur with the 6:24 a.m. Saturday morning tide, with highs of 7.5 to 8 feet above mean low tide.
A flood advisory was issued for the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township due to the impending storm, township police said, and there was already more than an inch of rainfall in Atlantic City by 3 p.m., the Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station reported.
A wind advisory is also in effect until 5 a.m. Saturday, with wind gust of up to 45 mph anticipated.
In Brigantine, acting Fire Chief Jim Holl said that the projected tides will likely mean the city's streets will flood, but it’s nothing the city can't handle.
“It’s nothing more than usual, and our apparatus are designed for that level,” he said.
Holl said the department is following the weather bulletins and have made 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.
“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 rising 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 tomorrow morning.”
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, Wallace McKelvey and Joel Landau contributed to this report.