By Maddy Vitale
Denise Gaskill stopped in the Acme in Ocean City Friday afternoon to pick up water, soda, bread and snacks, to keep her house well-stocked through the nor’easter.
“I just picked up lunch meat and some other stuff. I wanted to do it early,” Gaskill said. “We don’t know what is going on with the storm.”
The parking lot at the food store was packed with shoppers who may have had Gaskill’s same idea in mind to make sure the food pantry was filled just in case the storm gets bad.
After shopping, Gaskill said she was heading to the Intermediate School to pick up her 13-year-old son John a little early.
“It isn’t early dismissal, but I wanted to get him before the storm gets bad,” she said.
Gaskill said she wanted to be smart and prepare for whatever lies ahead with the storm. They live eight houses from the bay and are accustomed to having to prepare for “what ifs”.
“We have to move our cars off the street to higher ground,” Gaskill said.
The docks were inundated by the high bay water churned up by the storm at the Ocean City Yacht Club, 100 Bay Road. Sideways rains pelted the roadway as waters sprayed over the docks.
The Boardwalk was desolate. Most businesses were closed. One person walked the boards as wind gusts grew stronger and rains became heavier. The skies were thick and gray as whitecapped waves splashed onto the shore.
Traffic lights swung back and forth as the winds whistled.
There were several parking spaces open along Asbury Avenue, where just a few shoppers headed into shops.
Typical areas for flooding with any rain event include Third Street. But Friday, except for some pooling, which amounted to just big puddles, the roadway was clear.
“Fortunately, there has been no significant flooding so far. The winds are blowing hard offshore, which helps push the water away from Ocean City,” Ocean City’s Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said Friday afternoon. “If the back bays drain pretty well with the northwest wind, it’ll be good news.”
But Bergen noted that Saturday may be an entirely different story.
High tide is at 8:44 p.m. tonight at the Ninth Street Bridge. Morning high tide will be at 9 a.m. on the bay side of Ninth Street Bridge.
Mayor Jay Gillian urged residents in a storm update issued near 3:45 p.m. Friday, that residents should move their cars to a safe area tonight.
He also warned people not to travel if they don’t have to and emphasized that the storm is expected to last through Saturday and winds will remain strong. And the wind direction that helped the city escape flooding Friday, is expected to change by tomorrow.
When it does, Gillian said in his update, “I expect the threat of street flooding to be much greater in the morning and evening tomorrow.”
Ocean City Fire Chief Jim Smith offered some precautionary measures for residents.
“Secure loose items, remove cars from low-lying areas,” Smith said. “Don’t drive through flooded roadways and stay indoors during high winds as flying debris can injure you.”
Smith also warned that candles are not recommended as a lighting source. Residents should have flashlights handy in case of a power outage.
The chief added, “Smart choices help first responders remain safe.”
Check back with OCNJDaily.com for more storm coverage.