Evacuations ordered in anticipation of nor’easter

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A little more than a week after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the New Jersey and New York coast, several communities are being evacuated in anticipation of another nor’easter.

Though the storm seems to be weaker and farther offshore than originally forecast, some worry that the loss of large swaths of dunes — the land’s natural barrier for such storms — will make the effects farther-reaching than usual.

“The removal of the barriers, the dunes, I’m sure that is a huge concern because that’s generally what protects people from these events,” Brian McCallum, assistant director for the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Center, told Soundings Trade Only.

“Because of the loss of dunes from Hurricane Sandy there is the potential for more flooding and more evacuations,” Marine Trades Association of New Jersey director Melissa Danko told Trade Only.

More than 423,000 were still without power in New Jersey and more than 66,000 were without power in New York City, ABC News reported.

The pending nor’easter, though now forecast to be weaker than originally predicted, could bring wind gusts of as much as 50 mph and storm surges between 3 and 4 feet.

“I have power, but the street behind us does not have power, so there are definitely still widespread power outages everywhere in the entire state,” Danko said. “It’s difficult to communicate and we have gas rationing in 12 counties, so we still have all those issues, and yes, now we have another storm on its way.”

Matt Begovich, of Global One Yacht Sales in Neptune, N.J., told Trade Only there has been a huge police presence in parts of the region that still look the way they did the day after Sandy struck on Oct. 29.

“If you go near the ocean in these shore communities — wow, it looks like the day after the storm,” Begovich said. “Power’s still out, power lines are down, there’s debris everywhere. Really, it sobers you back up again. It’s bad.”

Begovich thinks authorities will help get word to residents who are cut off from communications that they will have to evacuate. On one hand, the pending storm is laughable after Sandy, Begovich said, but 55-mph gusts could be “disastrous for relief efforts and boat recovery.”

“I don’t see the high tide that’s going to float boats away, but it’s not going to be well tolerated at this point,” Begovich said. “The beaches look very different. There’s a different look, a different shape.”

“It’s like a slap in the face from Mother Nature.”

— Reagan Haynes

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