A strong coastal storm packed more bark than bite late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
After the 11 p.m. high tide Wednesday night, there was no significant flooding in some of the neighborhoods most susceptible to tidal overflows.
The Shore Acres neighborhood was home to some deep puddles produced by heavy rain, but no tidal flooding could be seen. The same went for the Cherry Quay neighborhood, where some streets off Seagoin Road suffered some rainfall flooding, but none of the tidal variety.
Similar observations were made in the Baywood neighborhood as well as in Herbertsville in neighborhoods that front the Manasquan River.
The biggest surprise in the late December coastal storm was the wind, which howled through the night and downed some tree branches in certain locations.
Jersey Central Power & Light reported 46 outages by 5 a.m., extremely far short of the tens of thousands of outages reported in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Most traffic lights remained on; the light at the intersection of Herbertsville Road and Maple Avenue was the only traffic signal observed to be inoperable.
The wind did, however, reach hurricane force, according to one report.
The National Weather Service in Mount Holly said a wind gust of 74 m.p.h. was recorded in Brick at 9:25 p.m. The measurement is technically unofficial but considered to be accurate. It was the highest gust reported in New Jersey; Barnegat and Tuckerton were tied for the second-highest gust, at 70 m.p.h.
Township residents may not be out of the woods yet, however.
Tide predictions show Thursday's midday high tide will run above Wednesday night's.
Mantoloking Bridge will see high tide at 11:16 a.m.; Beaver Dam Creek (inside), 9:37 a.m.; Kettle Creek, 11:11 a.m.
On the barrier island, high tide will occur at Ocean Beach (Toms River) at 11:05 a.m. The ocean will reach high tide at 6:18 a.m.