By Lauren Wanko
Hurricane season is here and shore residents are bracing themselves after Superstorm Sandy hammered the coast.
“Oh no, here we go again. Hopefully Mother Nature will be good to us this year,” said Patti Gallagher of Wall Township.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season with a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms. Seven to 11 of those storms could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes. Climatologists are keeping an look out for which storms could pose a threat to the coastline. State Climatologist David Robinson says there’s a number of reasons for this year’s active season.
“The sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic basin where these storms form in tropics, subtropics are a little above normal and it’s the sea surface that provides the energy to those storms. We’re in active pattern and we’ve really been in it since the mid ’90s, and it shows no signs of cessation and that’s an active pattern of waves of energy coming off the African coast meeting up with those warm sea surface temperatures and really firing up the storms,” Robinson said.
Hurricane season lasts from June 1 through Nov. 30 and it peaks around Labor Day. Some New Jerseyans just aren’t that worried.
“We very rarely get beat like the way we do every so often, but not as much as other areas in the United States so I’m pretty grateful for being up north,” said Ann Coscio of Jackson.
“I’m not nervous at all. I think it was very rare for us,” said Theresa Ogren of Jackson.
But what are the chances New Jersey will be hit with another storm like Sandy?
“We’ve had two major hits of very different sorts in the last two years. There’s nothing to say that we couldn’t have another this year, but also there’s nothing to say it might be years before we have another major storm affecting the state,” Robinson said. “More vulnerable than ever as a result of Sandy, as a result of sea levels rising up somewhat over last century so never let down your guard.”
That’s not what Bradley Beach Public Works Operating Supervisor Richard Bianchi Jr. wants to hear after months of rebuilding.
“We don’t even wanna go there,” Bianchi said.
In Bradley Beach, the public works department has been on the job around the clock, preparing for the next storm. Sandy wiped out the dune system and they’re rebuilding them here.
“We’re gonna be placing rocks starting today and all next week in front of the Christmas tree dune project that we started to protect them,” Bianchi said.
As Jersey Shore communities continue to rebuild and brace for another hurricane season, state officials are encouraging residents to make their own storm preparations by making an emergency plan and kit and staying informed.