Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Look at Storm Surge Flooding with the Northeastern System...

As noted in my earlier post, the Nor'Easter is well underway and causing all sorts of problems across much of the same region already hard hit by Hurricane Sandy last week.

The purpose of this post is to focus on the storm surge flooding aspect of today's system, particularly in the areas that continue to be impacted by power outages and other infrastructure problems from Sandy.

Below is the latest water level graph on the coast at Atlantic City, NJ.  The red line is the observed water level at the given time (scale at the bottom), and the black line is the forecast water level.  Flood stage at this gauge is 6 feet, and moderate flooding takes place at 7 feet:

As you can see, flood stage will be reached early this afternoon and again later this evening.  The 7ft. water level will be reached late this evening or early tonight near high tide.  

Similar conditions will take place along the remainder of the Jersey coast.  While a 6-7ft. water level would not normally be a "huge" deal in this area, you have to consider that most sand bars and even portions of barrier islands along the Jersey coast were washed away by Sandy, which allows water to flow into inhabited areas even faster (see before/after photo along the Jersey shore below):

Further to the North, lets take a look at the flood gauge at The Battery in NYC:

Flood stage at that location (as you probably remember from last week) is 6.5 feet, and moderate flooding takes place at 8.0 feet.  The forecast (black line on the graph above) calls for the 6.5 foot level to be reached early this afternoon and then again at high tide late this evening.  The peak water level is currently forecast to be near 7.5 feet at high tide this evening.

While it's obvious that water levels today will be no where near as high as they were in Sandy, any amount of water intrusion and flooding will only add insult to injury across this already hard hit region.

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