In Stone Harbor, roads were closed due to downed power lines and a condominium building that lost its roof due to the high winds, officials said.The Sanderling Condominiums in Stone Harbor at the corner of 96th Street and First Avenue had its roof ripped off, suffered major damage and had to be evacuated, according to the Stone Harbor Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 at about 1 p.m. Meanwhile, Stone Harbor Boulevard is closed due to multiple utility poles down, according to the fire company.Wind gusts have reached tropical storm force with highs of 61 mph in Ocean City and 60 mph in Cape May, according to the National Weather Service. Atlantic and Cumberland counties also have reported high winds with gusts of 55 mph in Somers Point; 51 mph at Millville Airport in Cumberland County; 47 mph in Wildwood; and 41 mph in West Cape May, the weather service said.Long Beach Township has issued a voluntary evacuation for oceanfront homes in Holgate and between 72nd Street in Brant Beach to 84th Street in Brighton Beach. The township warns that Long Beach Boulevard may be impassible on Thursday and for homeowners that know their property may be flood-prone, to secure belongings and move cars.“The storm seems to be focusing a lot of energy right now in southern New Jersey. The surge forecast seems to be higher there than elsewhere,” said Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist in charge with the National Weather Service, Mt. Holly.Coastal flooding is expected in Cape May County during the afternoon high tide, which will be about 3:30 at Absecon Inlet. That tide will likely put many flood-prone roads under water through about 6 p.m.Major coastal flooding also is likely in Atlantic and Cape May counties during the high tide early Thursday, which occurs at about 3:30 a.m. along the oceanfront.As of 2 p.m., Atlantic City Electric was reporting more than 5,000 customers without power in Cape May and more than 3,000 in Atlantic County. Atlantic Electric officials said the number of outages will fluctuate throughout the day as crews work to repair lines and restore power.Police and firefighters have closed Monmouth Avenue, near Melbourne Park, in Ventnor due to a downed power cable.A winter weather advisory is in effect for Atlantic, Cumberland and Ocean counties, with the potential of 2 inches to 4 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.More concerning to coastal residents is predictions that water levels at high tide early Thursday could exceed 8 feet in Atlantic City, which is the threshold for major tidal flooding. Water levels in Cape May could near 8.9 feet, which is the record water level set during Hurricane Sandy in October.“It looks like this isn’t destined to be a Sandy, but it’s going to be up there testing some previous storms,” said David Robinson, state climatologist and Rutgers University professor. “It’s a duration thing.”Forecasts also call for minor to moderate flooding levels during high tide along the oceanfront until early Saturday. That could mean that floodwaters could get bottled up in the back bays, Szatkowski said. “The big concern is the back bays. I don’t think they’re going to drain and that’s going to be a continued problem with multiple high tide cycles.”Moderate tidal flooding in Atlantic City occurs when the water level reaches 7 feet above the average lowest tide mark. When the water reaches that level, many flood-prone roads will be underwater and property damage is possible. When the water level reaches 8 feet in Atlantic City, more widespread damage is possible.By comparison, the water level during Hurricane Sandy reached 8.8 feet on the oceanfront in Atlantic City, but up to 10.5 feet in the bays.Ocean City has warned residents that if they are in flood-prone areas, they should move their cars to higher ground before this evening. Northern Ocean County towns still struggling with storm-damaged infrastructure, including coastal sections of Brick and Toms River, issued voluntary evacuations.“This will be another ‘new normal’ experience, where places that normally have not seen flooding with moderate levels will see it this time around,” Szatkowski said. “If you flooded in moderate coastal flooding post Sandy, it’s going to happen again.”Cape May County spokeswoman Lenora Boninfante said the major road problem is the closing of Stone Harbor Blvd. because of downed electrical poles.Boninfane said the county is most concerned about high tide at 2:58 p.m. today and Thursday morning’s high tide between 3 am and 5 am.Residents are urged to move their cars from low lying areas and avoid traveling in flood prone areas.North Wildwood Police Chief Bob Matteucci said the city is readying its high water vehicles if they are needed as high tide approaches. Parts of Delaware Ave are already flooded and the waves are crashing against the dunes between 24th to 26th avenues.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Say a Prayer
Winter storm is hammering the coastline today and tomorrow. Let's say a prayer for our beloved Cape May. Here's an update from the AC Press: