Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Similar to Superstorm Sandy, but Smaller

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Similar to Superstorm Sandy, but Smaller

Article excerpt

Even as late as Friday night, meteorologists continued to hone forecasts for how much snow North Jersey might get in its first blast of winter, with the latest predictions calling for 8 to 12 inches in most of Bergen County.

What they all agreed upon was this: the storm is a low-pressure system hugging the East Coast during a full moon, expected to bring northeast winds and higher-than-usual tides.

If that breakdown sounds familiar, that's because it's similar to Superstorm Sandy and major nor'easters. These types of storms cause serious erosion and coastal flooding -- snow or not.

"A large full-moon tide will coincide with strong winds, snowfall, and a moderate 2-5 foot storm surge this weekend, leading to the possibility of coastal flooding across our region," wrote Philip Orton, a specialist in storm surge at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.

That's the bad news. The good news is that this storm is not expected to be anywhere near as bad as Superstorm Sandy in terms of surge -- just 2 to 5 feet above the high tide.

The New Jersey and New York metropolitan areas will likely experience some minor flooding as a result, Orton wrote. The Shore from Atlantic City south will likely bear the brunt of the storm.

"Although there is still moderate uncertainty, forecasted flood levels are roughly similar or slightly worse than those which occurred during the nor'easter that caused flooding in the same areas early last October," Orton wrote. "Winds will be stronger, but the duration of high storm surge will be shorter, lasting through about three high tides."

Duration is one of the key factors to understanding how a storm might affect the already battered coast. The longer that beaches are pummeled with high-intensity waves, the worse they will be.

The October storm lasted through four high tides, which is more than 48 hours, and beaches were pummeled for 80 hours by waves more than 12 feet high. …

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