Nearly 194,000 South Jersey customers are without power this morning following a night of high winds and heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Sandy.
Winds from the storm, which finally made landfall near Atlantic City at about 8 p.m. Monday, are expected to continue into today.
Atlantic City Electric warned it could be more than a week before electricity is restored in some areas. Estimated restoration times are not being given until crews can conduct a preliminary assessment, which won’t occur until the winds die down enough for crews to be able to work, the utility said.
While Monday night’s high tide in Atlantic City peaked at 8.9 feet, just shy of the record, Tuesday morning’s high tide at about 9 a.m. will be in the minor range, or below 7 feet, according to a coastal flood advisory issued by the National Weather Service.
Emergency crews will begin going out at first light to start assessing damage and rescuing anyone who may need help.
Atlantic City is warning residents who remained along with any one using tap water in the city to boil the water first before drinking, indicating some type of breach into the water system may have occurred.
Gov. Chris Christie has reopened the Garden State Parkway to traffic, but warns residents to stay home to allow emergency crews access to make damage assessments.
Atlantic County remains under a travel ban and authorities are warning residents to not go out on the roads while emergency crews work to clear debris and restore traffic lights at major intersections, likely using generators.
The region remains under a high wind warning and a flood warning due to the continued assault of winds near tropical storm force and more than 14 inches of rain that fell at the Atlantic City Marina, with lesser amounts elsewhere.
Sandy made landfall as a post-tropical northeast storm, packing winds of nearly 85 mph and setting a record for the lowest barometric pressure in New Jersey, and potentially in the northeast United States, of 945 millibars.
The storm has weakened to sustained winds of about 65 mph and centered as of 5 a.m. near York, Pa, moving at about 15 mph. The storm is projected to move slowly through central Pennsylvania today, still sending significant winds toward our area.
Flooding from the storm reached major levels in Atlantic City, as the incoming tide met with the lowering storm surge. The water reached 8.9 feet at the recording station in Steel Pier, and likely is significantly higher in the back bays. High tide occurred at 8 p.m.
The storm was downgraded about 7 p.m. by the National Hurricane Center after multiple data sources confirmed that the storm had lost all of its tropical characteristics, the center said.
The ocean water level is as high as the water rose during the 1944 hurricane. However, the impact on the back bays cannot be determined until sunrise as the wind differences could create a more dire situation.