AP Photo/Wayne Parry
Parts of the New Jersey shore where dunes were damaged by Superstorm Sandy are keeping a close eye on the storm and shoring up temporary defenses for it.
LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — The Jersey shore isn't finished recovering from Superstorm Sandy, but the elements don't care: Another significant storm was bearing down Tuesday on areas still vulnerable from the catastrophic one in October.
(FORECAST: Winter Storm Saturn)
The storm was due to hit the state on Wednesday and continue into Thursday. It should bring rain and snow, but one of the biggest problems could be flooding in areas where dunes were washed away and many damaged homes still sit open and exposed. Those areas could get 2 to 4 inches of snow, with Monmouth and some inland counties possibly getting as much as 6 inches, the National Weather Service said.
The weather service issued a winter storm warning for the region from 4 a.m. Wednesday until 3 a.m. Thursday, although effects of the storm are expected to last into the day Thursday. A coastal flood warning is in effect from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Thursday for the Atlantic coast, Barnegat, Raritan and Delaware bays, where high tides tend to trail ocean tides by a few hours.
Forecasters say the storm will cause moderate to major flooding in some spots, worsen already significant beach erosion and bring high winds that could gust as strongly as 60 mph. Waves on the ocean will be 15 to 20 feet high.
The weather service warned that "some dune breaches and possible property damage to vulnerable structures due to continued compromised beaches are quite possible."
That had some residents of Sandy-battered communities on edge.
"We're always worried anytime one of these nor'easters blows through here," said Ed Newman, of the Holgate section of Long Beach Township, one of the communities hit hardest by Sandy, the state's worst natural disaster.
Newman's house survived the October superstorm with just the loss of some siding, thanks largely to a decades-old dune between it and the Atlantic Ocean.
But Sandy lopped the top 6 feet off that dune, according to his wife, Pat Newman.
"They pushed sand up there to try to fill some in, but we're still not back to where we were," she said.
Paul Gorbe, of Jackson Township, drove to the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk on Tuesday to watch it being rebuilt from the damage Sandy inflicted on it. He, too, was concerned about the impending storm.
"From what I've seen it could be pretty bad, though not as bad as Sandy," he said. "They're calling for another storm surge. It's unbelievable. I'm a contractor, and I've been working on houses in this area that had four feet of sand in them. It's unbelievable."
Mixed precipitation at the shore and in southern New Jersey was expected to begin before dawn on Wednesday and continue throughout the day, changing to all snow toward evening.
(MORE: Winter Storm Saturn Resources)
Emergency management officials were taking the approaching storm seriously. Toms River and Brick Township issued voluntary evacuation notices Tuesday for residents of low-lying or traditionally flood-prone neighborhoods.
Brick police Sgt. Keith Reinhard said his town, where more than 100 houses burned during Sandy as gas lines ruptured and power lines came down, will experience high tides 2 feet above normal Wednesday afternoon, Thursday afternoon and very early Friday morning.
"A complete wash-over of the beaches is likely Wednesday night, and beach erosion will be an issue due to the persistent high tides and rough surf," he said.
Public works crews were busy Tuesday shoring up eroded dunes as the new storm approached. Bulldozers pushed up piles of sand in Long Beach Township, Lavallette, Bay Head and Toms River.
Officials in Toms River, whose Ortley Beach was devastated by the storm and has fewer than 70 residents living in it, also requested voluntary evacuations from flood-prone areas.
A coastal flood watch is in effect for the entire Jersey shore from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday evening, along with a high wind warning for sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of up to 60 mph.
Any snow likely will be wet and heavy, possibly bringing down trees or limbs and causing power outages.
Further north, the weather service predicted that Newark would see 1 to 3 inches of snow accumulation by Wednesday night, while Morristown could get 3 to 5 inches and Sparta in Sussex County could get 2 to 4 inches, as could Trenton. Cape May could see 1 to 3 inches of snow.
SLIDESHOW: Winter Storm Saturn Slams Midwest
James Madison University employee John Beach walks to work along Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg, Va., as snow begins to fall Tuesday night, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Daily News-Record, Michael Reilly)
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