The front-end loaders were still building mountains of sand along New Jersey’s beaches — a new last line of defense — when the rain began to fall, first softly, then in stinging, sideways sheets.
The wind rose quickly, tugging at slickers and hats. The ocean followed, smashing into jetties and sea walls, pushing in, spraying froth.
In any other year, the nor’easter that whipped across New Jersey Wednesday wouldn’t raise much of an alarm. But nine days after Hurricane Sandy transformed the state, destroying coastal defenses and shattering the power grid, the new storm heaped fresh hardship and fear atop lingering misery.
Floodwaters inundated the streets of Long Beach Island before nightfall. Snow, sleet and freezing rain coated trees and electrical lines, cutting power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses that had been restored after days in the cold and dark. Many residents fled houses near the water, wary of the ocean’s might.
Forecasters and state officials said they were most concerned about high tide at 1:30 a.m. today, predicting moderate to severe erosion and pounding 10-foot waves. Wind gusts of more than 40 mph were expected along the coast, with weaker gusts inland. Some parts of the state could wake up to a half- foot of snow.
Gov. Chris Christie, after meeting with first-responders and crews clearing debris on Long Beach Island, sought to gird New Jerseyans for the latest blow to a battered state.
“We may take a setback in the next 24 hours,” he said. “You need to be prepared for that. I’m prepared for that. I hate setbacks. I don’t tolerate them usually very well. But this one I can’t control. The weather is what it is, and we’re going to have to deal with it.”
Read the story at NJ.com (Nov. 8, 2012)