A Nor'easter headed toward New Jersey could slow the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy and even cause more power outages, Governor Chris Christie said Tuesday.
Forecasters have predicted the storm will hit New Jersey Wednesday and could bring gusts of 50 or 60 miles per hour. Crews cleaning up from Hurricane Sandy and restoring power are not allowed up in their bucket trucks if winds hit 40 miles per hour or more.
"If you've gotten power, some of you may lose power again," Christie said.
More than 11,000 crews have been working to restore power in New Jersey since Hurricane Sandy caused outages for about 2.76 million customers across the state. As of Tuesday morning, Atlantic City Electric had about 100 percent of their customers back on, Christie said. PSE&G had about 87 percent, JCP&L had about 80 percent and Orange & Rockland had about 84 percent of their customers restored.
Christie also warned that flooding could be a problem along the coast and barrier islands, where Hurricane Sandy already caused flooding last week. The National Weather Service has predicted "moderate flooding" along the coast Wednesday night, but that prediciton does not necessarily account for changes to the coast caused by Hurricane Sandy.
"The dunes are gone," Christie said. "Mild to moderate flooding could become major flooding. We don't know."
Inland flooding is less of a concern, Christie said. Before Hurricane Sandy, state officials had ordered several reservoirs to be lowered to lessen the risk of flooding, but the storm brought less rain than predicted. Only Pompton Lake has been pegged to be lowered again before the Nor'easter hits.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting that it could start raining early Wednesday. That rain could change to snow throughout the course of the day. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid to low 30s Tuesday and Wednesday night and in the mid 40s on Wednesday.
“We’ll have enough cold air that we could see some snowfall mixing in but right now it looks like we’re going to get snow mixing with rain,” said Mike Layer, a meteorologist with the NWS’s Upton, N.Y. office. “If it’s just cold enough we could see a period of just all snow but we’re not looking at too much accumulation.”
Layer said accumulations could be less than 1 inch by the time the storm leaves the area Wednesday night into Thursday. The forecasted amount could change depending on which direction the storm moves up the coast.
“If it goes west we could see higher amounts of precipitation. If it heads East, we could see lower amounts,” Layer said.
Weather.com is reporting that the storm could cause additional power outages.
The NWS has issued a wind advisory for much of North Jersey, including Passaic, Bergen and Morris counties, from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday.
The storm could also bring strong winds but not as fierce as those felt during Sandy. Those winds, which gusted up to 90 miles per hour, knocked down trees, telephone poles and power lines throughout North Jersey.
Layer said winds are forecast to be between 20 to 25 miles per hour with gusts between 35 and 60 miles per hour in the higher elevations.