New Jersey braces for setback from nor’easter

To compound the troubles after Superstorm Sandy, a nor’easter is rumbling through New Jersey’s Shore towns.

Just as the cleanup efforts were making a dent in the destruction, the new storm threatens to erode progress with a scouring blast of high winds, rain, and even snow.

But Gov. Chris Christie says state government is prepared for the latest assault from Mother Nature.

Touring Long Beach Island Wednesday, the governor said efforts to restore power may suffer a setback because the storm could bring down more trees and electric lines, and winds might make it unsafe for utility crews to continue working.

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“We may take a setback in the next 24 hours,” Christie said. “I’m prepared for that. I hate setbacks. I don’t tolerate them usually very well, but this one I can’t control. The weather is what it is, and we’re going to have to deal with it.”

Coastal towns were urged to move sand that was washed ashore by the hurricane back closer to the ocean to reduce the potential of flooding from the storm surge.

“We don’t know exactly what it’s going to bring,” Christie said. “While we’re moving quickly to increase the dunes, we don’t know how well they’ll hold, and we don’t know what kind of flooding we’ll be dealing with potentially.”

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin expects that, depending on the size of the surge, the precautionary measure will make a difference.

“We expect a surge that’s going to be three to four feet at high tide, which is significant, which probably means moderate flooding,” Martin said. “But we don’t expect that that’s going to break through too much on most of these islands at this point in time.”

Meanwhile, the state Transportation Department is ready with trucks, plows, and salt to deal with the snow.

Forecast calls for rebounding

Snow was falling Wednesday in Ocean City as heavy equipment rebuilt dunes washed away last week.  

Geotubes, basically big sandbags, kept the north end of the island safe. Since Sandy departed, about 500 big dump truck loads of sand have been brought in to protect Beach Road and other streets close to the ocean.

Ross Figlin of Northeast Philadelphia was buying some salt water taffy on the boardwalk as high tide came in.  

“It’s pretty ominous, it’s pretty ugly,” he said.

Figlin was surprised by the waves, which were hitting the deck of the nearby Music Pier, coming up almost to the boardwalk.

While the sight of 10-foot waves were unexpected, Figlin said he’s sure about the resilience of residents.

“I think they will bounce back from anything,” Figlin said Wednesday. “I’ve been coming down here for years, and I’ve seen storms.

“Years ago, I was down here just for fun watching a storm, just for fun. They take a licking and keep on ticking,” he said. “They will be back, they’ll be back bigger and stronger.”

Christie shared Figlin’s optimism.

New Jersey, he said, will survive this storm — and anything else thrown its way.

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