Moderate to major coastal flooding will continue to be a problem along the Jersey Shore through tonight and part of Sunday.

Tidal flooding inundated the Ventnor City boardwalk and much of South Jersey during Saturday morning's high tide. (Photo Eddie Davis, Townsquare Media)

This morning's high tide proved that New Jersey's tidal flooding threat from this nor'easter is very much real, as water inundated coastal areas up and down the Jersey Shore. The worst of the flooding, as expected, occurred along the southern coast in Atlantic and Cape May counties.

The reason for the high water stems from the fierce northeasterly winds spawned by the deep low pressure of this winter storm system. That wind stirs up the ocean and pushes a lot of water toward the coast, and into the back bays, inlets, and tributaries. This "storm surge" is in the range of 3 to 4 feet. In addition, tidal levels are already unusually high due to today's full moon. And, as if that's not enough, there has been a lot of ice and other debris in the water.

We'll be watching the next two high tides very closely (and holding our breath) as the winds and surf remain high and strong. Here's a review of the latest surge model data for the three primary tide gauges along the Jersey Shore. All heights refer to the "Mean Lower Low Water" (MLLW) mark, measured in feet.

Sandy Hook, Monmouth County

Tidal graph for Sandy Hook. (NWS / Meteorological Development Laboratory)

The observed high tide this morning (red line) at Sandy Hook was 7.68 feet at 7 a.m. Tonight's high tide (black line) occurs at 7:28 p.m. and is expected to have a similar crest at 7.71 feet. Tomorrow morning's high tide will occur at 7:44 a.m. and is expected to peak around 7.75 feet. This tide level is considered "Moderate Flooding" and would be the 39th highest tide crest since records at Sandy Hook began in 1910.

Atlantic City, Atlantic County

Tidal graph for Atlantic City. (NWS / Meteorological Development Laboratory)

The observed high tide this morning (red line) at Atlantic City was 7.67 feet at 6:43 a.m. Tonight's high tide (black line) occurs at 7:09 p.m. and is expected to have a slightly lower crest at 7.35 feet. Tomorrow morning's high tide will occur at 7:26 a.m. and is expected to have a similar peak around 7.57 feet. This tide level is considered "Moderate Flooding" and would be the 12th highest tide crest since records at Atlantic City began in 1911.

Cape May, Cape May County

Tidal graph for Cape May. (NWS / Meteorological Development Laboratory)

The observed high tide this morning (red line) at Cape May was 8.65 feet at 7:17 a.m. Tonight's high tide (black line) occurs at 7:43 p.m. and is expected to have a slightly lower crest at 7.82 feet. Tomorrow morning's high tide will occur at 8 a.m. and is expected to have another high peak around 8.42 feet. This tide level is considered "Moderate Flooding" and would be the 5th highest tide crest since records at Cape May began in 1965.

Ocean Waves

Wave Wave 3 model depiction of significant wave heights off the Jersey Shore. (WeatherBell Analytics)

In addition to the threat of surging water, the ocean is downright angry. Peak wave heights just off the coast are in the 14 to 20 foot range. As the nor'easter pulls away from New Jersey, the waves will subside accordingly. The marked decrease in wave height will begin around Midnight on Saturday night. Waves should return to normal by Monday morning.

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