Nor'easter Could Test Post-Sandy Beaches

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
October 9, 2013

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An approaching nor’easter will be the first test of Jersey Shore beaches that have not fully recovered from Sandy.

State climatologist Dave Robinson says the storm could cause some minor flooding along the coast and bay areas.

“It’s not a particularly powerful storm, but it’s a slow mover, and that can be just as dangerous in some respects because you get high tide after high tide with the winds pushing those waters towards shore. So over time you can build up abnormally high tides.”

Stewart Farrell is director of the Coastal Research Center at Stockton College. He does not expect the nor’easter will cause major problems at the shore.

“This one will be the first bite out of the width of the beach and the elevation of the berm. It should not reach the dunes at all. It should expend itself on what accumulated this summer. It should not produce any catastrophic or even semi-catastrophic events that change things even in spite of essentially a more vulnerable beach at times in some places.”

Farrell says most New Jersey beaches have about 60 to 70 percent of the sand they did before Sandy with most of it returned by natural wave action and the rest trucked in for restoration projects.

He expects the beaches should be able to provide adequate protection unless there are a series of back-to-back nor’easters that cause major erosion.

“If they come once a week, we could be in trouble pretty quickly. If they happen the next couple of days and then it’s a nice fall Indian summer for two or three weeks then it will all recover again.”


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