With the prospect of several hours of potent, wave-inciting onshore winds from the season's first nor'easter, a coastal flood warning was in effect Saturday for the New Jersey Shore, a flood advisory was posted for Philadelphia, and the region's power companies were on alert for potential power outages.
The National Weather Service on Friday also posted a wind advisory for the Shore until 11 a.m. Saturday, saying winds could gust to 45 mph and whip up waves of 7 to 10 feet; gusts of up to 60 mph were possible north of Atlantic City.
The critical time for coastal flooding would be the first high tide, which occurs at 9:42 a.m. Saturday, said Weather Service meteorologist Lee Robertson. Astronomical tides would be a bit higher than usual given that while the moon will be waning, it still will be nearly full.
The Weather Service said that "widespread flooding of roadways is expected with many roads becoming impassable." But after mid-morning Saturday, the flood threat, at least, was expected to ebb.
The storm will be a quick mover, and Saturday "night's high tide is actually lower" than the morning one, Robertson said.
Meanwhile, utility companies said crews were on standby in case of power outages, given the powerful winds and heavy rains, with 1 to 2 inches expected.
Plus, because of the late leaf fall, trees still are laden with surprisingly green leaves, and soils remain wet from weeks of heavy rain. That could make trees vulnerable to gusts.
"We are ready to respond," said Frank Tedesco, spokesperson for Atlantic City Electric Co.
Philadelphia International Airport is advising travelers to check with their airlines for potential flight delays.
The storm is going to get an additional charge from strong winds in the upper atmosphere, the Weather Service office in Mount Holly said in its Friday morning discussion. Rain is forecast to continue well into the afternoon Saturday but should be over by nightfall.
The storm's origins were in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Weather Prediction Center said that before it left the Texas coast for the Atlantic, it got a shot of juice from the remnants of Hurricane Willa.
Nor'easters in October aren't uncommon. On average they have occurred about a once a year, according to analysis by the Northeast Regional Climate Center. In autumn, the temperature contrasts that generate organized storms are sharper than they are in spring or summer, when rains tend to be showery.
Nevertheless, a nor'easter at this time truly is a sign from nature that the seasons are in fact changing, regardless of what the foliage is saying.