A few days into the month, March will come in like a lion at the Jersey Shore, where a nor'easter is forecast to spur flooding, high winds and extremely rough surf.
The National Weather Service in Mount Holly has issued a coastal flood watch that remains in effect for the entire Shore area, as well as a storm watch and small craft advisory for offshore waters.
The storm is forecast to begin as a rain event in coastal areas after 8 a.m. Wednesday and continue through late Thursday, with the potential for the precipitation to turn to snow.
Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said he would meet Tuesday with the township’s public works department to discuss possible preparations, according to NJ.com.
Toms River took substantial damage during Sandy — 67 people currently live in the Ortley Beach section of town, where there are 2,400 homes — but Mastronardy is "cautiously optimistic" the township’s newly built dunes will protect from whatever surges this storm produces, according to NJ.com.
There are parts of town where dunes were not rebuilt on private swaths of the shore, and those areas are especially at risk for flooding, Mastronardy said.
Forecast models are largely unsure of the rain-snow line for the storm.
But the big story in the Shore area, already weakened by Superstorm Sandy, will be the potential for "moderate" coastal flooding, prompting the NWS to issue a coastal flood watch.
The great potential for flooding will come at the Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning high tides. In central Barnegat Bay, in the area of Seaside Heights, high tide will occur 2:28 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and 3:01 a.m. Thursday morning.
The storm will also bring the potential for strong winds, NWS said in an advisrory issued Tuesday morning. The nor'easter could pack gusts of up to 60 m.p.h. with sustained winds near 40 m.p.h. in coastal areas.
Offshore, a storm watch has been issued that carries a prediction of wave height between 10 to 15 feet Wednesday and 11 to 16 feet Wednesday night. Wave heights at local beaches will range from 7 to 15 feet, the forecast said.