Still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, Jersey shore communities are now feeling the effects of a nor’easter. Gusts in the 50-mile an hour range, rain, snow, tidal surges and flooding in coastal areas are possible this evening and Thursday morning.
Atlantic County spokeswoman Linda Gilmore said shore residents are used to nor’easters, but in the wake of Sandy, this one may do more damage than usual. Many retaining walls and natural dunes on the beach were washed away by the super storm.
“Several feet of sand was pushed into the streets and into people’s homes, I mean we have piles of sand taller than some people,” Gilmore said.
Less sand and dune protection means water from storm surges and high waves will be more likely to flow over eroded beaches straight into streets and homes.
Before the worst of the storm hits, crews in various communities are working to replace the sand that was pushed off the beaches and into streets, but University of Delaware oceanography professor Christopher Sommerfield points out that sand is also washed out to sea during storms.
Every year, fall and winter nor’easters deposit sand onto shores and sand bars. The relatively calm summer typically allows for some natural replenishment before the cycle begins again.
“The fact that Sandy came right before the beginning of winter I think is very bad timing,” said Jennifer Francis, a marine and coastal sciences professor at Rutgers University. “The fall is typically when we get some of our worst nor’easters, so here we are poised to stand to get even further damage.”
Francis said nor’easters may continue to do more damage than usual as the storm season progresses.
This week, already saturated ground in low-lying areas near the shore will be more prone to flooding than usual.
Wet and loose ground, coupled with root and branch damage caused by Sandy, may topple more trees.
Storm effects are likely to be worse farther north on the shore, including Ocean County, where some low-lying communities have been ordered to evacuate.