Nor’easter Flood Intermission and the Coming Second Act

As things have paused between high tides, we have a sort of intermission in the coastal flood stresses impacting many of us.  Water levels are on their way up again, and here’s an update on what happened and what I expect will happen through the remainder of the storm.  A big concern is obviously that this massive snowstorm could coincide with seawater flooding, and that we’ll have ice floes and water in our neighborhoods.

Major coastal flooding has already severely impacted some southern parts of NJ and states further south. Several neighborhoods there have seen floodwaters, but the worst flooding should be over; flood levels on the coming high tides are forecast to be lower.

All low-lying areas, as well as areas within the New Jersey back bays should remain vigilant over this evening’s high tides, as there is a chance they may experience worse conditions later on in the day.  I can’t make any blanket statements about all sites, as some have complex sea level patterns. However, the Stevens forecasts are available for a great many areas, so check them out.

Around the NY/NJ Metro area, moderate coastal flooding was observed in southern Raritan Bay, Upper East River and near Freeport NY.  Minor flooding was observed in several other places.

The forecasts provided by Stevens Institute, run every 6 hours, are experimental but can compliment NOAA forecasts, and have many additional features such as grey uncertainty errorbars (5th to 95th percentile estimates). This morning’s peak water levels were observed to reach the models’ higher uncertainty limits, but have remained within the range of those predictions.

So here is the good news:  Offshore winds have been dropping for a few hours now, and rotating to come from the north-northeast, and then north this evening or overnight.

As a result, the surge is also dropping.  Also, the evening high tide is a weaker high tide than the morning tide.  As a result, there is only a small likelihood of exceeding the water levels that occurred on the earlier high tide, for the entire region.  For the New York / New Jersey Metro area, at the very most they will only exceed them by roughly a half foot.

You can continue monitoring the observations and forecasts in www.stevens.edu/SFAS.

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