Shore towns bracing for storm, coastal flooding

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The storm is expected to cause major beach erosion, and it's going to be a test for the protections built up since Superstorm Sandy. (WPVI)

It may not grab the headlines of the big snow totals, but one of the biggest issues we see this weekend could be coastal flooding.

The storm is expected to cause major beach erosion, and it's going to be a test for the protections built up since Superstorm Sandy.

Crews were bulldozing sand at 14th Street in Ocean City Thursday morning, dumping load after load in an effort to seal off beach access spots. That's so if the ocean gets rough enough, waves won't breach the gap in the dunes and spill into the street.

Ocean City Emergency Management Director Frank Donato says beach erosion is a concern, but what could be record-setting flooding is the big worry that comes with the impending blizzard.

The combination of up to 60 mile an hour wind gusts and higher than normal tides because of the full moon will create a situation where water can't drain out of the bays.

Donato tells us, "For us that consistent north east wind will pile the water in the back bay and make each tide higher and higher as we get through Friday night to Saturday into Sunday morning."

Because power outages are a possibility, Ocean City High School is on standby as a shelter, and the city now has military surplus vehicles ready to roll if rescues are necessary. The tires are a good three feet high, so getting through snow or water is not a problem.

Meanwhile, workers at B&B Department Store on Asbury Avenue spent some time Thursday shoveling snow off the street left by last night's snow squall.

Store manager Lisa Palmer says, "We are definitely getting practice for the weekend. I don't even think we're gonna be here on Saturday, quite honestly, with the storm coming."

While merchants scraped snow from the sidewalk, Marge and Tom Cheek were the lone couple strolling the powder-white boardwalk, and didn't seem concerned about the bad weather that's coming.

Marge says, "A lot of times these storms don't get as big as they think they're going to. Nothing we can do about it."

Tom Cheek says he's not doing anything out of the ordinary to prepare, saying, "Just a snow blower. I got a truck with four wheel drive, and if it's not too bad I'll just roll the driveway."

As a precaution the city has moved some equipment to high ground on a lot at Tennessee Avenue, and while some lagoons on the back bay are already starting to freeze, that's ice that may be lifted and shattered when the storm hits.
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