High winds, coastal flooding, cold and raw temperatures, and heavy rain are all expected today as another significant northeaster is expected to pound the region.
And, if some forecasters are correct, much of New Jersey, potentially even the coast, could see its first snowfall as the storm begins to move away from the area.
“It’s going to be a whirlwind of a weather day, not only for Atlantic City, but the entire Jersey coast,” said Andy Mussoline, meteorologist with Accuweather.com, a private forecasting service.
The National Weather Service has issued coastal flood and high-wind warnings or advisories for the entire region, with areas near Philadelphia also under a winter weather advisory for up to two inches of snow.
But the impact along the coast from high surf, high winds and a two to four foot storm surge is likely to be more strongly felt due to the damage and weakened coastal infrastructure from Sandy’s battering last week, said Gary Szatkowski, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Mount Holly.
“There may not ever be a good time to have a moderate northeaster, but this is a very bad time to have a moderate northeaster, and we’re aware of that,” Szatkowski said.
Ocean County will be blocking access to its barrier islands and has ordered evacuations of those remaining on the barrier islands due to the impending northeaster. Route 72 will be closed to all traffic trying to access Long Beach Island beginning at 1 p.m. and the road will not reopen until Friday at 6 a.m., Long Beach Township police said. Anyone on the island needs to leave by 1 p.m. as high tide at the bridge is at 4 p.m., police said.
Atlantic City Electric announced Tuesday it had just completed restoring power to all buildings that could accept a reconnection. About 5,000 buildings the utility serves are too damaged for a reconnection to occur, spokesman Frank Tedesco said in a news release.
But today’s high winds could cause additional power outages throughout the region, including in areas that have been heavily affected by Sandy, the weather service warned.
The Ocean City School District announced Tuesday night it would have an early dismissal for its students in order to get children home before today’s 1 p.m. high tide, which could reach 7.5 feet in Atlantic City. High School and intermediate school students will be dismissed at noon and primary school students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m.
Area emergency management offices warned residents to secure debris and other loose items outside, and public works crews in several barrier island communities worked to shore up some
Winds could gust above 60 mph along the coast and up to 50 mph inland, Szatkowski said. Tide predictions call for a 7.5 foot water level at Steel Pier, which is considered moderate flooding and will cause numerous road closures in flood-prone areas. Sandy, by comparison, had a water level peak at 8.9 feet, so the flooding from this northeaster will be nowhere near as severe.
The most difficult aspect of the forecast for Wednesday is how much snow or sleet could fall as the storm moves off. Szatkowski said the ground is still very warm and the ocean temperature in the 50s will mean that a few snowflakes could mix in, but it’s unlikely there will be any accumulation along the coast and up to a coating inland. However, Mussoline said he expects much of New Jersey, including the coast, could see a changeover to snow.
“We think it comes right to the coast,” he said. “Not far away from the coast could get a 1 to 3 inch snowfall across most of New Jersey.”
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