Winter is coming Jersey Shore, here’s how we all need to prepare for the unknown
Weather can be very unpredictable and while it's been a while since parts of the state, especially many Shore areas, have seen a good 3-4 foot snowy blizzard, there is more than just that kind of storm to prepare for this winter in what are a lot of unknowns.
New Jersey State DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette says that it's anybody's guess as to what we'll see this winter with forecasters not sure how it'll go at this point amid recent projections of a dryer winter.
His concerns regardless of the forecast and whatever weather comes this winter is the risk of beach erosion and how it'll affect coasting engineering projects.
"We'll be paying close attention to that, we'll be doing our routine beach re-nourishment project examinations, we'll take a look from a coastal engineering and safety perspective both pre and post storm like we usually do and make sure we share that information immediately," LaTourette tells Townsquare Media News.
There is some concern as we head towards winter about what storms or winds even a full moon may do to the jersey shore including beach erosion.
Tom Herrington, Associate Director at the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute explains that while building up dunes helps provide some protection against a coastal storm in the winter, they don't stop the erosion process.
"We have prepared and that's building these engineered beaches and dunes with the Army Corps of Engineers. It's there to provide protection against any coastal storm that may come up during the winter," Herrington tells Townsquare Media News. "Having said that, the projects are built and then they don't stop the erosion process so they, over time -- erode -- so our protection level varies depending on where we look along the shoreline and I think that one of the most vulnerable places right now is Bay Head through Brick Township."
Herrington adds that beaches are well protected against anything damaging such as full moon tides or gusty winds but the back bays remain vulnerable in those same situations.
"The beaches are pretty well protected against full moon tides and even a strong nor 'easterly wind for a few days without large waves, they will protect the beach," Herrington said. "Where we're vulnerable on those situations are on the back bay sides of the communities."
Herrington explains that it would take a strong, significant enough storm that come with large waves and high tides to cause beach erosion.
"The beachfront is pretty well protected unless we get a pretty major storm," Herrington said.
The levels of protection in place now should be enough to help prevent some damage this winter.
"Where we did have erosion last winter, which is still present -- we haven't restored those beaches, they're slated to be renourished in 2022 -- there is a sea wall and a buried bulkhead along the shoreline there so even though the beach may be a little more eroded and more vulnerable to future erosion, there is another line of defense for those communities," Herrington said. "Should it come to it and we hope it doesn't, there is structural protection to help those communities."