Climate Change+Sea Level Rise+Big Storm: What Could Go Wrong?
January 21, 2016
Above, Melanie Fitzpatrick PhD, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, on increases in coastal flooding along the US East and Gulf Coast.
While the snow is certainly the most notable and visual phenomenon, parts of the East Coast could also face a major storm surge event that could wreak havoc and up the damage. The fact that the storm is slow moving and showing up during the highest tides of the month means prolonged flooding is possible, particularly around the Chesapeake Bay and parts of New Jersey and Long Island. The National Weather Service Mount Holly, N.J. office, which covers the Jersey Shore and Philadelphia, is already anticipating a top 5 coastal flood event.
On Saturday, powerful winds in excess of 60 mph could whip up waves that could reach 30 feet. As they come ashore, beaches will take a pounding and face widespread erosion.
Models also show a current storm surge of around 5 feet coming ashore with Saturday’s high tide. In Cape May, N.J., the current forecast high tide mark on Saturday evening would be the third-highest on record while Atlantic City would come in at 10th in the record books, according to Stephen Stirling at NJ.com. That could push water inland and cause widespread property damage.