Jersey Shore communities are bulking up dunes along the oceanfront, preparing for a possible nor'easter that's supposed to slam into the region this weekend.
In Brick Township, crews began moving extra sand onto the beach Wednesday and will finish by Thursday night, the township said in a statement. The sand is being shaped into a protective berm.
"With the weather forecast calling for the potential of moderate coastal flooding it is essential that we build our beaches and berms as much as possible to protect areas that were devastated by Sandy and are still vulnerable,” said Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis.
"The crews will work until it is done," said Acropolis.
Two storms are expected to merge and form a powerful nor'easter Thursday night or Friday. That could mean trouble for parts of New Jersey and bring flooding to the coastal areas, according to WHYY-TV in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.
"We're now currently talking to all the towns along the coast who don't have dunes or berms. We're talking to all those towns and trying to get them emergency sand if they need it," said state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin told WHYY.
A coastal flood watch has been issued for Ocean County, according to the National Weather Service. Widespread minor flooding is expected during Friday's high tide periods, and moderate flooding is forecast for Saturday's high tide.
The importance of dunes was illustrated during Sandy in Sea Girt, according to Mayor Ken Farrell. A section of the boardwalk in the Monmouth County town was ripped up during the storm, but Farrell says a strong dune system there prevented major devastation.
"While the dunes on the east side of the boardwalk were destroyed, they caught up and they absorbed the energy," he said Wednesday.
"So little damage happened beyond the boardwalk. There's no damage to our street. You don't see a lot of damage to any of our infrastructure," the report also said.
Wave heights, meanwhile, are predicted to reach between 8 and 12 feet Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, bringing moderate to severe beach erosion.
High tide at the Mantoloking Bridge will occur at 10:08 a.m. and 11:46 p.m. Friday, and 11:11 a.m. and 11:38 p.m. Saturday.
On the oceanfront, high tide will occur and 5:20 a.m. and 4:48 p.m. Friday, and 6:13 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. Saturday.
The National Weather Service warning predicts 4-8 inches of snow along with "a trace of ice." Snow Friday morning will turn to rain, but then back to snow late in the day Friday into Friday evening.
The Shore area is "on the edge" of the line between heavy snow amounts and lighter amounts, and the forecast could vary, the warning said.
There is no tally on the cost of the sand, but Brick township will be reimbursed by the state Department of Environmental Protection to tune of 75 percent.
In the statement, Acropolis thanked Gov. Chris Christie for providing funding for dune protection in anticipation of the coming storm.
"We would be doing it anyway to protect the families and homes from further damage and loss, but it is reassuring to know that a significant part of the costs will be paid for by the state," he said.