By MADDY VITALE
With potential coastal flooding in the forecast through Friday, Ocean City officials are taking all measures to stay ahead of the storm as well as keeping the public informed.
“With the shift from summer to fall comes with it another nor’easter season for us to monitor,” Frank Donato, Ocean City’s emergency management coordinator, said Wednesday.
The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood advisory Wednesday that is in effect through Friday. Strong north and northeast winds are also predicted to extend through the end of the week.
“We remind all of our residents and visitors to pay attention to the weather and the winds and to be prepared,” Donato said. “If you haven’t already, sign up for our weather email alerts to make sure you’re never caught off guard.”
A nor’easter last October drenched the coast and brought winds gusting up to 55 mph. The storm made some of Ocean City’s streets temporarily impassable and the Ocean City-Longport Bridge had to close due to flooding.
City officials continue to emphasize that motorists should not attempt to drive through flood waters, and do not drive around barricades. Other safety measures are to bring in pets, secure property and bring inside anything that could blow away.
Residents and second homeowners are urged to sign up for the city’s storm advisories and emergency alerts by visiting www.ocnj.us and click on “Alert Me.”
While minor coastal flooding is predicted through Thursday afternoon, moderate coastal flooding is expected Thursday afternoon through Friday night with winds potentially reaching up to 45 mph along the New Jersey coast.
In his Mayor’s Message Oct. 4, Mayor Jay Gillian’s emphasized the importance of signing up for emergency alerts and notifications.
“As we move into fall and winter with their potential for storms, I want to remind everybody to sign up for emergency alerts and information,” he said.
When the NWS issues an advisory or watch, the city’s Office of Emergency Management will send out an email notification, along with posting information on the city website and on OCTV-97.
Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen detailed some ways the city is ready for storms.
“Once the National Weather Service issues advisories for flooding events, Public Works crews are out making sure storm drains are clear, pushing sand in front of dune crossovers, monitoring pumping stations and dropping off barricades for streets that typically experience flooding,” Bergen explained.
“The city also alerts contractors on the island to secure their job sites. But the main preparation is in making the public aware of the impending event through email notifications, OCTV-97 and the city website,” Bergen noted.
He continued, “If the National Weather Service issues a “warning,” indicating that significant flooding is imminent, the Office of Emergency Management will launch a Code Red, ( reverse-911), telephone call to all residents in town and to anybody who has registered for the service.”