A coastal flood warning is in effect again tonight, with the National Weather Service again calling for moderate tidal flooding.
The weather service said that the flooding will not be as extensive or as deep as Tuesday’s rare peak of 7.5 feet at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, many roads will still flood and minor property damage is possible if cars are left in flood-prone areas.
The coastal flood warning is in effect from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. High tide occurs along the ocean between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and along the back bays up to two hours later.
Tidal flooding has occurred every evening since Friday due to abnormally high astronomical tides combined with consistent onshore breezes.
Waves along the ocean beaches are forecast to be between 3 feet and 6 feet, which could result in minor beach erosion due to the height of the tide, the weather service said.
Monday’s tide was the highest since 1996, exceeding storms in 2009 and Tropical Storm Irene.
Bay water came up Monday night and spilled onto the streets of South Jersey’s barrier islands and on coastal roads, reaching levels not seen in more than 15 years.
The rising waters and flooding — both expected to continue for several more evenings — were the result of a combination of an unusually high astronomical tide due to the full moon and a northeasterly breeze from a mild storm system off the coast of New England, said Walter Drag, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.
Tidal flooding has occured every evening since Friday due to the already high astronomical tides and onshore breezes. However, Monday’s flooding spilled into the moderate range, which meant most of the flood-prone areas were in danger of being under water, including locations in West Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Ocean City, Cape May, Sea Isle City, Wildwood, Brigantine, Margate and Atlantic City.
The Black Horse Pike in the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township was shut down in both directions about 8 p.m. because of the expected tide levels. West End Avenue in Atlantic City was also closed Monday night when water overflowed the bulkhead.
Both lanes of Route 147 in North Wildwood were also closed.
In Atlantic City, the high water mark reached 7.5 feet at 8:30 p.m., the highest level since March 1996. In Cape May, the high water mark reached 8.2 feet at 9:30 p.m.
The moderate tidal flooding threshold for Atlantic City is 7 feet at the measuring station at the end of Steel Pier. In Cape May County, that threshold is 7.7 feet at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal.
Atlantic County Emergency Management Director Vince Jones said that despite the water levels, “We really don’t get significant flooding until the tide’s at 8 to 8.5 feet, and then we have problems. ... When it gets to 7.5 feet, that’s the trigger. Then the water starts to get over roadways.”
Jones said that besides flooding in the “usual trouble areas” such as the Black Horse Pike, Route 30 and Ohio Avenue in Absecon, there were no major flooding incidents.
Expect at least minor tidal flooding for tonight’s and Wednesday’s high tides, Drag said. “The guidance is getting close to moderate (Wednesday), but (Wednesday) night high tide will probably be anywhere from two-tenths to a half a foot lower than what we have tonight,” Drag said.
The last time the tide at Steel Pier measured above 7 feet was Oct. 29, during the Halloween weekend northeaster, according to tidal records from the National Data Buoy Center. Since 2008, the tide has reached at least 7 feet only seven times, according to an analysis of that data. The tide from Tropical Storm Irene reached only 6.7 feet.
Staff Writer Steven Lemongello contributed to this report.
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Top 10 high tides in Atlantic City since 2008
1. Oct. 18, 2009: 7.39 feet — northeaster
2. Oct. 17, 2009: 7.31 feet — northeaster
3. Nov. 13, 2009: 7.31 feet — northeaster
4. Oct. 29, 2011: 7.19 feet — northeaster
5. Oct. 16, 2009: 7.14 feet — northeaster
6. Nov. 11, 2009: 7.04 feet — northeaster
7. May 12, 2008: 7.04 feet
8. Oct. 16, 2009: 6.96 feet — northeaster
9. July 24, 2009: 6.93 feet
10. April 16, 2011: 6.88 feet
Source: National Data Buoy Center