While the thought of dealing with a lot of snow is causing a lot of concern throughout the region, the approaching storm could also be packing strong winds and pose the threat of flooding at the Jersey Shore.
Up to three high tides could occur while the storm is passing by the coast, and the storm surge could be higher than 7 feet, said Stewart Farrell, director of the Stockton University Coastal Research Center.
“That possibly will cause moderate erosion, and it will cause moderate levels of flooding — which might be a foot and a half of water in the low-lying streets,” Farrell said Thursday. “So I wouldn’t leave my car where it normally floods.”
Efforts by towns to move sand to block gaps in dunes constructed on beaches could help prevent coastal flooding, but Farrell said it’s too late to try to build new dunes.
And the risk of flooding will be greater in areas where a protective dune system along the coast has not been completed.
“The coastal projects are still pending in northern Ocean County, the work in Long Beach Island is not finished down in the Holgate section, and both of those places took it squarely on the nose with Sandy,” Farrell said.
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said the state is preparing for all contingencies.
“We’ve reach out to operators and those responsible for contaminated sites to make sure that they are battened down,” he said. “And steps are in place to make sure there are no discharges and then to evaluate those sites afterwards.”
As another step to prevent possible pollution, New Jersey officials are contacting water- and wastewater-treatment facilities to make sure generators are ready just in case of extended power outages.