The big winter storm heading our way for the weekend will actually be a nor’easter, with fierce winds as well as significant snow and sleet. That could mean big problems for the Jersey Shore.

The ocean in Bradley Beach as a snowstorm approaches (Bud McCormick)

Ocean County Freeholder Gerry Little said the county is always prepared for the possibility of coastal storms.

“We are all prepared and ready on an ongoing basis to deal with coastal storms," Little said. “We are expecting moderate to major flooding along the coast and our back bays, our back bays are most vulnerable where we have low lying roads.”

For that reason, accelerated dune build-up is taking place as the storm approaches the Garden State.

“The dunes are the keys to protecting our barrier islands,” he said. “Wide and deep berms that were built before Sandy were most effective in protecting towns.”

Up the coast, Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty confirms efforts to build up dunes on the beach in his town are also underway.

“We all know the beach is lovely to sit on when it’s 80 degrees and sunny, but it also acts as a significant barrier and protection for the town, so we’re going to utilize that as much as possible by building up the dunes with our bulldozers,” he said.

Doherty said the town is also taking steps to protect residents farther inland.

“We’re going to lower the two lakes in town so they can accept as much water as possible. We do anticipate flooding, we need to mitigate against that as much as possible, we are both concerned on the ocean side of our town but also on the back bays," the mayor said. “The lesson we’ve learned from Sandy is be as prepared as possible, and then react quickly afterward. Our goal is to be as prepared as possible, to mitigate against whatever flood damage may come our way."

Doherty also said right now, they are not anticipating any evacuations but the situation will be carefully monitored.

“Hopefully the damage will be limited to beach erosion,” he said. “This may be the first test of the new boardwalk that was built in 2013, following the destruction caused by Sandy.”

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