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Another storm threatens Jersey Shore

By Anthony R. Wood, The Philadelphia Inquirer –

PHILADELPHIA — Already ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, the Jersey Shore is on track to get exactly what it doesn’t need: another siege of powerful, sand-removing onshore winds, perhaps gusting to 65 mph.

A potent storm — perhaps strong enough to generate snow in the Philadelphia area — is almost certain in the region from Wednesday into Thursday, meteorologists said.

With high-wind and coastal-flood watches in effect, the likely result of what the National Weather Service is calling “a particularly dangerous situation” will be more trauma for a region still picking up the millions of pieces from Sandy’s destruction.

Although storm surges and wave heights would not be in a league with Sandy’s, the storm is expected to set off more flooding in towns where dunes were leveled last week.

Major coastal flooding again is possible, and moderate coastal flooding is likely, said Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, N.J.

The coastal storm expected to form Tuesday and intensify Wednesday would be a traditional nor’easter — named for the strong winds from the northeast that such storms generate — and not a “hybrid” like Sandy, born in the tropics and powered up in the mid-Atlantic.

Although the storm would not have Sandy’s power, the wave attacks will last substantially longer, perhaps through three high tides, said Jon Miller, director of the Center for Maritime Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.

Makeshift dunes piled on the beach after Sandy aren’t likely to be much help because they won’t have stabilizing vegetation embedded in them, Miller said.

“With a natural dune, it gets its strength from the plants,” he said. “With the piles of sand, they are no more stable than any pile of sand that a kid builds on the beach with his bucket.”

The prospective storm is raising anxieties about more power outages.

One of the more remarkable aspects of Sandy’s hurricane-force gusts is that they somehow spared many leaves. Aesthetic considerations notwithstanding, the presence of those leaves represents a hazard because “it gives the wind more surface area to bring down the trees,” said Ben Armstrong, a spokesman for Peco, the local electric company.

The other wild card would be accumulating snow, which is possible well north and west of the city. Several inches could crown the Poconos, Szatkowski said, and snow could fall as far south and east as Philadelphia, although it probably wouldn’t stick.

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