Just about all of us around South Jersey awoke to the site of snow on the ground this morning. But for residents along the barrier islands, it was a slightly different sight as tidal floods made their way down the street.
"When its blowing northeast, its just going to flood, especially during the full moon or something like that," said Ocean City resident John Flaherty.
"It floods here even when it doesn't rain,” said Donna Salvadore of Ocean City. “It floods that's what happens to the island, this is it. It's the price you pay for maybe living on the islands."
Despite the sight of water in the street this morning, both residents and Cape May County officials say the flooding was nothing unusual for the combination of a storm and monthly astronomical high tides.
"From what we got, reports back from the barrier island, there’s nothing out of the ordinary, any of the areas that flooded," said Cape May County Emergency Management Coordinator, Martin Pagliughi.
The new moon and storm also caused waves to wash over the seawall at the Townsends Inlet Bridge, forcing its closure early Friday morning. We were there as the bridge reopened and police and county road crews left around 12:30 Friday afternoon.
"When you get the astronomical tide, you do get a lot of wash over and its dangerous for cars to cross, especially with the ice forming so it was closed for a period of time this morning," said Pagliughi.
While minor tidal flooding was experienced in parts of the county, officials say they have the wind to thank for saving residents from any serious damage.
"We were sort of like lucky the low pressure area moved further to the north because this time of the month, we're on the astronomical tide,” said Pagliughi.
“Tides about a foot, foot and a half higher than normal, and if we would have had northeast wind for the duration of the storm, it would have caused some very serious flooding along the coast."
Now, even as floodwaters subside, officials say they will not be taking their eyes off of the road. County trucks are already doing what they can to prevent roads from icing over as temperatures drop.
"With the cold they’re keeping an eye on where that water did come up and go back down, again because there is going to be ice forming tonight with these extreme cold temperatures," said Pagliughi.
Cape May County officials also say the powdery snow caused less power outages around the county and that the tidal flooding seen this morning is not expected to return with the next high tide.
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