Powerful nor’easter aiming for South Jersey

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Projected wind gusts from tomorrows storm as forecast by the National Weather Service. Areas in red exceed 50 mph. A powerful nor’easter could deliver a quadruple punch of high winds, power outages, coastal flooding and heavy rain to the South Jersey area still staggering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall a week ago.

According to several weather models, the midweek storm will form off the North Carolina coast and quickly intensify into a powerful nor’easter. It will then move northward and pass along the South Jersey coast on Wednesday, Nov. 7 before quickly pulling away during the morning hours of Thursday, Nov. 8.

Winds will begin out of the northeast and should pick up in intensity during the afternoon hours. While the storm is at its strongest, winds will remain between 25 to 35 mph inland with higher gusts predicted. Meanwhile, winds will gust to 65 mph along the coast, according to the National Weather Service’s Mt. Holly Forecast Center. Overnight, the winds will shift to the north and then to the west as the storm passes.

Although the winds will be weaker than last week’s super storm, they will be strong enough to topple already weakened trees and branches and create more power outages across South Jersey.

Once again officials are concerned about significant flooding in an area left defenseless since Sandy’s record high tides washed out almost all of the protective sand dunes along the Jersey coast.

The National Weather Service predicted on Tuesday that the nor’easter could produce tides that are 7½ feet above the mean lower low water mark, which is the forecast center’s measuring mark for flooding conditions.

At  7½ feet, there will be flooding along the Margate Bridge causeway, along Longport Boulevard between Somers Point and Longport, along Atlantic County Route 559 in Somers Point, between 11th and 24th streets in Longport, in Pleasantville, the north end of Brigantine, and along Absecon Boulevard, Shore Road and New Road in Absecon. The low-lying area of the Black Horse Pike in the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township could flood along with shoreline areas of the back bays as well.

The weather service says severe tidal flooding begins at 8.0 feet.

The nor’easter could produce between 1 and 2 inches of rain in an area that saw between 4 and 10 inches of rain caused by Sandy last week.

However, there is one glimmer of hope for South Jersey residents as of Wednesday morning. The trouble is the glimmer of hope is a frosty one.

While models all agree a powerful nor’easter is coming up the coast, at least one prominent forecasting tool places the storm a little farther east. As a result, the shore would experience calmer winds and lesser flooding with lower rain amounts.

But that would also result in the season’s first snowfall over interior portions of New Jersey, especially the cooler Pine Barrens, along with the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

Some of us just might be saying, “Let it snow.”

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