March Spring Coastal Storm

Heavy surf crashes over the seawall on Ocean Drive between Sea Isle City and Avalon. A early spring coastal storm brought wintry conditions to Southern New Jersey, Tuesday March 20, 2018, with high winds, coastal flooding, rain, sleet and snow. Wednesday March 21, 2018. (Dale Gerhard / Press of Atlantic City)

According to the National Weather Service, the next four new moons will bring higher than normal tides. This will take us through the summer, as the first of the new moons occurs Wednesday.

The new moons on June 13, July 12, Aug. 11 and Sept. 9 will all bring the astronomical tide closer to the coastal flooding thresholds. For example, at Atlantic City, the high tide Wednesday evening will be at 5.59 feet, already in action flood stage and only a half foot away from minor flood stage.

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Action Flood Stage

Even without any influences from the weather, the perigee new moon on Wednesday will make coastal waters at Atlantic City already in action flood stage. Minor flood stage in Atlantic City is 6.0 feet. 

We can thank the position of the moon for this. The new moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth, also known as perigee.

“The gravitational pull of the moon with be stronger than average, hence the higher tides,” said Anthony Broccoli, professor of meteorology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

The time between each new moon is about 29.5 days, while the time between perigee to perigee is 27.3 days.

“It just so happens that they will occur at about the same time over the next few months,” said Broccoli.

Other factors also are playing into the higher than usual tides. The summer solstice is on June 21, when the sun's direct rays are closest to South Jersey.

“The tidal bulge would be influenced (with more extreme tides) by how high in the sky the sun gets,” said Steven Decker, also a professor of meteorology at Rutgers.

This means you can anticipate more water on bayside roads and potential closings.

I spoke to Ventnor Heights Emergency Management Coordinator Donna Peterson. She said it’s important to remember towns like Ventnor are islands, and this can happen.

“When coastal flooding is at night (like it is through Thursday), it does make it easier for us, because the roads aren’t that congested,” Peterson commented.

Story was edited to clarify that the sun's direct rays are closest to the Earth, not the actual position of the sun. 

Meteorologist

This is my first newspaper but not my first forecast for NJ. I graduated with a B.S. in Meteorology from Rutgers. Two TV internships gave me a taste for the newsroom. Then, after nearly 4 years in private NJ weather, I'm forecasting South Jersey for you.