A potentially potent nor’easter brewing off the Carolina coast is forecast to affect the New Jersey Shore through the weekend into Monday with beach-eroding winds and waves and potential flooding.
Winds were gusting past 30 mph Saturday morning and were due were due to crest on Sunday, with gusts of perhaps up to 50 mph, the National Weather Service said. Gale warnings were posted, and a coastal flood watch will be in effect Sunday and Monday. Moderate flooding is possible.
Winds have pivoted toward an onshore direction — from the northeast, which is why these things are called “nor’easters” — on Saturday morning and could continue into Monday as the storm moves slowly to the east and northeast well offshore
That would be an “ideal sand-stripping wind direction,” said Jim Eberwine, erstwhile marine forecaster at the weather service’s Mount Holly office and now emergency management director for Absecon, Atlantic County, where he lives.
Cold, dry high pressure to the north will chill the region during the weekend, with temperatures struggling to get out of the 30s. The air is so dry in fact that the weather service has issued a fire-danger advisory for the entire region Saturday afternoon, even the Shore.
But that same high pressure, or heavy air, working in tandem with the storm’s lower pressure, or lighter air, will give the winds an extra kick. Pressure and temperature difference drive winds and storms.
Coastal storms become ever more likely this time of year as cold air builds and ocean temperatures are still in the 50s.
It is uncertain whether this nor’easter will throw back much in the way of rain or wind to the mainland. The forecast calls for gusts to 25 mph in Philadelphia with a better than even chance of light rain Sunday night.
But the storm bears watching: Eberwine noted that successive computer runs have been bringing the storm closer to the coast and upping the wind ante.