Coastal Flooding big risk in “Blizzard”.



DC and inland is expecting a blizzard, in fact the whole DC/Baltimore/Philadelphia/New York city metro area is expecting a blizzard. Some places are expecting two feet of snow, others more or less. The computer models are in agreement.

Will it be a blizzard in Seaside Heights?  Maybe is the answer. Saturday’s temperatures are expected to hover around freezing for at least part of the day, and now rain/snow is forecast for the event at this time here on the island by the Weather Channel.  Accuweather is predicting all snow. So could it rain at times, and snow at others? Probably. Winds are expected to HOWL at 50-plus miles per hour, making any snow a white-out. Seaside Heights remains in the 6-inch category, possibly, but that could change either way. Drifts during a blizzard are hard to believe. If you have not lived through a blizzard in Seaside Heights, it’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. Put your vehicle in a secure place.  I remember clearly the Blizzards of 1978, 1983, 1996, 2003 and others. The Blizzard of 1983 saw thundersnow in Seaside Heights. The Blizzard of ’96 happened on a Saturday 20 winters ago. If this looks like even half of those, it’s a big deal. All rain would make our lives easier.

Seaside Heights Mayor Dr. Anthony Vaz said, “We are prepared as we possibly can. We all have Sandy on our minds.”, in a Thursday a.m. interview. The Mayor said that all equipment, and barricades are set. The Seaside Heights Police Department Chief Thomas J. Boyd, The Emergency Management team headed by William Hibbel, and The Public Works team headed by William Rumbolo, are ready.  As stated yesterday, the Borough’s reverse 9-1-1 system has already been activated once, and it will be utilized as needed. Station 44, The Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Department will have a crew on standby during the event if there is any need to evacuate. Any evacuation of the island would be hampered by the inbound bridge, and alternate plans using Route 35 might be advisable. All vehicles must be removed off the streets for plowing and flooding safety. If anyone needs more information, the Mayor said they could call Seaside Heights Borough Hall at 732-793-9100, or the Police Department at 732-793-1800 for non-emergency.

But what should really be the headline for Seaside Heights is the forecast for coastal flooding. News outlets have said, “Worst since Sandy.”, but that only means this is the largest classic Nor’Easter event since the hurricane, with “fetch and windspeed increasing”, according to Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, who called and compared it to a tropical storm.  The National Weather Service has issued a watch for “Moderate to Major Tidal Flooding” which could cause minor or moderate property damage. Seaside Heights was a place The Weather Channel mentioned.

Wunderground said, “There is more than snow in the works with this storm. The ferocious dynamics at play during the storm’s height could produce winds of 40-50 mph or more, which would lead to blizzard conditions and huge drifts. On top of that, strong onshore winds may produce waves up to 20 feet and major coastal flooding, especially from New Jersey to the Delmarva Peninsula. The full moon on Saturday will only add to the risk of significant flood impacts. In addition, sea-surface temperatures running 5 – 7°F above average should keep the offshore surface air relatively warm, allowing strong winds aloft to mix to the surface more readily than usual for a midwinter nor’easter, as noted by the NWS/Philadelphia office in a weather discussion on Tuesday night. The risk of damaging coastal flooding will need to be watched with the same vigilance as the potential for crippling snowfall just inland.”

Another forecast said for Saturday, “”Windy. Rain and snow in the morning will transition to mainly rain in the afternoon. High 37F. Winds NE at 40 to 60 mph. Chance of precip 100%. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches. Winds could occasionally gust over 80 mph”.



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