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Hermine's Biggest Holiday Weekend Threat: Tidal Flooding Along NJ Seaboard

The trouble in NJ starts Saturday.
The trouble in NJ starts Saturday. Photo Credit: COURTESY: The Weather Channel

Retaining walls built along New Jersey's entire eastern shoreline after Hurricane Sandy will get their biggest test so far when Hermine produces surges of up to three feet during the expected Labor Day weekend washout, forecasters warned.

New York City already ordered its beaches closed for Sunday -- with the possibility of Monday and Tuesday, as well.

The biggest concern in New Jersey, by far, was coastal flooding -- followed on the priority list by wind gusts could kick up to 40 mph or so in or around Bergen and Passaic counties, meteorologist Joe Cioff said Friday .

"All the models pretty much agree with the notion that Hermine in whatever form it is -- be it tropical storm or post-tropical storm (nor’easter) or something in-between -- will be moving to somewhere east of Delaware or South Jersey and South of Long Island and sit out there beginning Sunday and lasting into the middle of next week," Cioffi said, noting that earlier reports varied widely.

"This will also be the first test for the many towns who built retaining walls at the beaches and for some towns who chose not to for reasons known to them," he added.

The second issue on the priority list is wind, he said.

"I think gale force winds along the immediate coast (on the beaches) are likely and gusts on the order of 40 to 50 mph are not impossible on and off into Tuesday," Cioffi warned. "Inland the wind will become much less of a factor."

A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect only as north as Hudson County as of early Friday afternoon, with Hermine "moving right along to the north/northeast on schedule," Cioffi noted.

Friday was expected to be all sunshine, dry, with highs in the 70s near 80, he said.

"No issues Saturday other than sunshine giving way to arriving clouds and highs in the 70s," Cioffi said.

"Rain and wind will being to move into South Jersey Saturday night and spread northward up the coast during Sunday morning," he said.

The amount of rain, however, "looks minimal."

"Even the most aggressive of the models keeps the heaviest rains of 4 inches or more well to the south," Cioffi said. "Other models show far less.

"So from the standpoint of rain, unless some band of rain comes in from off the ocean and sits over you for awhile, or unless this system decides to barrel northward into the coastline for some reason, I do not believe rain will be a big issue here."

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PSE&G offered some tips:

• If your facility has a generator, now is a good time to make sure it's in good working order and there is sufficient fuel for your operating needs;

• Charge your cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices;

• Have a flashlight and fresh batteries on hand;

• Compile a list of emergency phone numbers, including PSE&G's Customer Service line: 1-800-436-PSEG. Call this number to report power outages or downed wires.

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