Storm pounds the coast with winds, flooding, power outages
The heart of the storm bears down on the coast today, as powerful winds and pelting rain combine with high tide cycles to impact the ocean and back bay shorelines.
The National Weather Services' coastal flood advisory ramps up to warning status at 2 PM today, continuing through 11 PM, with special attention to high tide on the ocean between 4 and 5 PM, and roughly between 7 and 8 PM on the back bays.
Townsquare Meteorologist Dan Zarrow predicts wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour inland and 60 on the coast. Waves could reach 12 to 16 feet, with surges about four feet above astronomical tide late this afternoon and evening,
All of it means a pounding for beaches and moderate flooding along tidal waterways during high tide through Tuesday morning. Temperatures remain well above freezing, in the low to mid 40s.
Power outages ballooned through the afternoon. By 5:30 PM, Jersey Central Power and Light had brought the total down to 8,774 for its entire service area, including 2,254 in Ocean and 4,463 in Monmouth, with about 354 in Burlington.
"We will be out and about through the day," said JCP&L's Scott Surgeoner. "We ask that every customer who does experience an outage contact our company, and stay away from downed power lines. Treat them as live."
Atlantic City Electric reported about 714 outages in Atlantic County, 512 in Cape May County, 47 in Ocean and 171 in Burlington. Salem County had the largest concentration, with 1.174.
Emergency management officials along the coast reinforce the need to have emergency kits ready, including water, batteries, and well-charged cell phones.
"With these storms, you just never know, they change from one hour to the next," said Toms River Emergency Management Coordinator Paul Daley. "We're always prepared for the worst."
In Atlantic County, Emergency Management Coordinator Vince Jones is focusing on high tide tonight and Tuesday morning. "We're a little more concerned about tonight," Jones said, "with that wind keeping the water stacked up in the bay area."
SUEZ recommends using clean, food-grade containers to store water, washing them with soap and water and rinsing thoroughly, sealing the original tops, labeling them with the storage date, and keeping them away from toxic substances.
We'll keep you updated throiugh the day, on air and on line.