A tropical storm watch was downgraded to a hazardous weather/coastal flood watch on Tuesday for Long Beach and other South Shore areas as Hurricane Jose tracked up the East Coast, with forecasters saying that the worst of the storm was expected to hit Tuesday into Wednesday.
The storm threat comes at the height of a highly active hurricane season, and National Weather Service officials said that Jose will track north through the western Atlantic waters through mid-week, passing to the southeast of the area late Tuesday night into Wednesday.
“The hurricane will be close enough to bring potential impacts of tropical storm force winds, coastal flooding and heavy rainfall,” the agency said. “The best chance for tropical storm force winds and heavy rain will be across eastern Long Island and southeast Connecticut.”
Minor to moderate coastal flooding is also expected, with widespread water levels of one to two feet and locally up to three feet above ground level possible.
In Long Beach, the latest forecast called for strong winds and one to three inches of rain, with locally higher amounts. The potential for one to three feet of water during the peak storm surge could impact surge-prone areas beginning Tuesday morning. The storm is also expected to generate moderate beach erosion, heavy surf and strong rip currents.
City officials said that they are coordinating with the state and county, as well as PSEG and National Grid in preparation for potentially heavy rain and possible flooding in low-lying areas.
“Public works crews have been working to ensure that storm drains are clear and functioning properly,” officials said in a statement, adding that crews were also moving sand on the beach to close off and secure openings in between dunes and along the boardwalk.
Still, while officials urged residents to be prepared — the city is hosting a number of initiatives during National Preparedness Month — they sought to assuage concerns about the storm.
"Unless Jose has a drastic shift in its projected path, this is going to be a very manageable event," the Long Beach Fire Department said on Facebook. "This will be nothing like [Hurricane] Sandy nor [Tropical Storm] Irene. We aren't taking a direct hit by any means. This storm will be comparable to a nor'easter."
The city offered theses tips to prepare:
If you are in an area that typically floods, take this opportunity to secure your home and protect your belongings just in case.
Tie down or bring in outdoor furnishings, and secure or bring in any outdoor construction materials.
Make sure you have the necessary items that you might need for an emergency kit. For an emergency kit checklist, along with tips and information, review the City's Storm Preparedness Guide, which was mailed to every household in Long Beach. For your convenience, a digital version of the guide is also available online at www.longbeachny.gov/lbready.
As always, in case of an emergency, dial 911. You can also reach the LBPD’s non-emergency line at (516) 431-1800. If your power goes out, contact PSEG-LI at (800) 490-0025. The city will also be updating residents on Facebook and other social media pages.