Cape May County residents are invited to attend a virtual public meeting Jan. 11 to learn about the county’s plan for hazard mitigation.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. and be available at capemaycounty2020hmp.com/calendar.
“No one knows their municipality and the hazards better than the people that live there. With this plan update, we want as much local input as possible. This will enhance the plan and make it much more accurate to work with in the next five years to address the hazards,” said Martin Pagliughi, director of emergency management for Cape May County as well as mayor of Avalon.
Superstorm Sandy brought thousands of people to county evacuation shelters at the Jersey Sho…
With the updated plan, county municipalities will be able to receive credit under the federal Community Rating System program, which provides discounts on flood insurance rates. The CRS rating is on a scale from 10 to 1. Residents in a town with a rating of 1 receive a 45% discount on their flood insurance premiums, lowering by 5% for each class higher than 1. As of April, Sea Isle City and Avalon have the largest discounts, at 35%, with a class 3 rating.
In addition to flood insurance discounts, an update to the plan allows for more Federal Emergency Management Agency grants, including for home acquisitions, home elevators and future buildings.
After the public’s review, Pagliughi will prepare the plan to be submitted to FEMA by February. It also will be voted on by the county commissioners.
LISTEN: Top 10 Weather Events of 2020
10 - 2020 likely ends up the fifth wettest on record
As of Dec. 27, 2020, 58.16 inches of precipitation fell at Atlantic City International Airport. Precipitation takes into account rain and snow melted down to liquid that is then measured. Of course, though, there was barely any snow to melt.
With four days to go until the end of the year, that is good enough for the fifth wettest year since 1944, the first full year of records at the airport.
Three days saw deluges of over 3.00 inches of rain, while everyone got soaked in over 1.00 inch of rain on sixteen days. On average, 41.75 inches of rain falls.
Given that the fourth spot is 61.55 inches (2009), the airport will likely not reach the fourth spot. On average, 41.75 inches of
9 - A 'gravity wave' rolls through South Jersey, damaging property
All across South Jersey, winds howled and tore trees from their roots and jostled and ripped apart man-made structures. Cape May, where Congress Hall saw parts of its roof torn off and subsequent water damage to the top floor, experienced 72 mph winds. In Egg Harbor Township, the protective structure over the pumps at a Sunoco gas station pancaked under heavy gusts up to 73 mph.
Workers in Cape May agreed that they never saw wind damage like this, even compared to Superstorm Sandy.
The winds destroyed Wildwood's boardwalk for multiple blocks in length and even prompted Governor Murphy to tour the damage. In North Wildwood, it was the same result. Engineers said that the winds created an uplift effect, ripping the deck up, though the "superstructure" was left in tact.
The destruction was likely cause by a gravity wave. A gravity wave occurs when air is forced to rise in stable air. However, the stable air blocks it from rising all of the way through the atmosphere. So it's reflected back down in a wave.
A gravity wave is like throwing a rock into a pond, but going vertically, not horizontally. The waves propagate highest (fastest wind) nearest to the rock (shower).
8 - Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall in South Jersey on July 10
Tropical Storm Fay was the first of two tropical storms to directly impact the region, along with Isaias in August. However, it was the only one to make a direct landfall.
Fay made landfall between Brigantine and Long Beach Island, continuing Atlantic County's trend of being a hot spot for landfalling storms. Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy both made landfall within ten miles of Fay.
Rip currents from Fay were responsible for two deaths. One was an Atlantic City man on July 9, while an 18-year-old teen drowned trying to save two others in the Ventnor waters.
Fay brought heavy rain the morning of July 10. 5.86 inches of rain fell in Wildwood Crest and several towns had signfiicant flooding for a few hours. However, winds were relatively light, and by the time the eye passed during the afternoon, it was mostly cloudy.
7 - Western wildfire smoke hazes out the sky in September
From Sept. 14 to Sept. 17, smoke from the massive wildfires in the Western United States made their way to South Jersey, creating a brownish-gray haze in the sky.
The wildfire smoke, which killed at least 35 people, traveled around a ridge of clockwise spinning high pressure in the center of the country. While people marveled at the change of color in the sky, the air was OK for people to breath. Smoke was already thousands of miles high in the sky by the time it arrived to South Jersey. Air quality was only unhealthy to people unusually sensitive to particle pollution.
6 - A.C. International Airport busts record for most rain in one September day
Most people were likely sleeping when the all-time record for most rain in one September day was set on Sept. 10.
3.97 inches of rain dropped at the airport, beating out the 3.86 inch mark on Sept. 14, 1973.
Hours of pounding rain during the early morning and night Thursday dropped inches of rain ac…
However, the majority of the rainfall happened before sunrise and after sunset, perhaps allowing people to turn a blind eye to history.
The rain was the sixteenth highest amount recorded in one day, regardless of the month, in the airport's history. This put it in the 99.94 percentile of all days, which date back to 1943. It also more than tripled the daily record, last set in 2018.
5 - Largest hailstone in twelve years falls in Cape May County
A severe thunderstorm on July 1 brought golf ball size, 1.75 inch in diameter, hail to the Petersburg section of Upper Township, the largest hailstone since 2008 to fall in the county.
Hail covered the ground like snow in Upper Township on that summer afternoon, which also saw Nickle sized hail in Ocean City and marble sized hail in Marmora.
The golf ball sized hail was the largest hailstone to fall in any of The Press' four county region - Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland and southern Ocean counties - since 2014.
4 - June 3 had it all, with a derecho, record heat and more severe weather
A derecho occurs about once every four years, according to the National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration. If that isn't unusual enough, couple that with record heat and more severe weather later in the day and you had of the most unique days in South Jersey weather in decades.
A derecho is classified as a line of storms with at least a 240 mile damage swatch with wind gusts at least 58 mph. A line of storms speeded at 70 mph from western Pennsylvania into New Jersey early on the June 3 afternoon. The line of fast moving storms extended from roughly the White Horse Pike north into Burlington and Ocean counties. Beach Haven reported a wind gust of 93 mph, and Surf City screamed at 92 mph. Trees fell onto the Garden State Parkway.
Later that night, downed wires and trees were reported from Hammonton, Folsom, Port Republic, Mullica Township and Beach Haven between 7 and 9 p.m. The second severe thunderstorm watch for the day was issued in South Jersey. IT is unknown when the last time two severe thunderstorm watches were issued for the same day.
Part of the reason for the derecho occurring was the high heat and sunshine, which provides fuel for the storms. Atlantic City International Airport broke a daily high temperature record with 92 degrees registered before the second line of storms came through.
3 - Tropical Storm Isaias brings two tornadoes, worst power outages since Sandy
Typically, one hit from a tropical system is all the region sees in one year. However, just weeks after Tropical Storm Fay made landfall, Tropical Storm Isaias, who's storm track actually passed to the west of the region, was the tropical system that brought the greatest impacts.
On Aug. 4, 2020, the storm brought two tornadoes that morning. One ran from Strathmere to Marmora, causing damage to the Coca-Cola bottling plant and tearing through the Pine Hill Mobile Home Court. The tornado packed winds of 100 mph.
The other tornado moved from Ship Bottom, over the Route 72 bridge, into the Mud City section of Stafford Township. In a scene only dreamed of in the movie Twister, the center of the tornado went through a weather station which clocked the winds in the vortex at 109 mph. According to New Jersey State Climatologist Dave Robinson, this is the highest wind gust ever recorded in state history.
Power outages were significant. Approximately 200,000 customers lost power in the Atlantic City Electric coverage area, the most since Superstorm Sandy. This was caused by the strong winds the system brought. Besides the Ocean County tornado, three locations in the region gusted over 70 mph. The heavy winds were responsible for turning the leaves on the trees brown near the shore, damaged by the salt air.
The damage was so extensive that President Trump approved federal disaster assistance on Dec. 14 for Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland counties, among others in the state.
Rainfall totals stayed light with the storm. Most of the shore barely saw more than 0.25 inches of rain.
2 - 2020 sizzles as the warmest year on record, again
Atlantic City International Airport is on pace to be the warmest year on record.
Eight of the top ten warmest years on record (full year records go back to 1944) have all occurred since 2010. Climate change is largely responsible for the consistent warmth in recent decades. The last time a year ranked within the top ten for coldest years, it was 1992, which came in tenth place.
The 57.7 degree average temperature mark, as of Dec. 28, was driven in part by July. While July was the second hottest month at the airport, and the second hottest all time, when you take into account South Jersey as a whole, it was the hottest month on record, according to the New Jersey State Climatologist. For New Jersey as a whole, 2020 will wind up as the second warmest year on record.
At the airport, more than half of the year cracked the top ten warmest. This includes: January (7), February (3), March (3), June (5), July (2), August (4), and November (6).
The early part of November was the more remarkable record stretch of the year. Record high temperatures were set on Nov. 7 (77 degrees), 8 (79 degrees) and 9 (76 degrees). That is the first time record highs were set on three consecutive days at the airport since Oct. 2016. Nov. 5 -11 all eclipsed the 70 degree mark, the longest such November streak.
The warmth came on a weekend and sent people to the beach, playing in the sand. Even with water temperatures in the 50s, an offshore wind kept the chilly sea breeze away and Sen. Frank S. Farley Marina broke records as well.
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1 - South Jersey has the least snowiest year, winter, March on record
Snow birds who didn't make it down to the South rejoiced while school children and teachers cried. Most in South Jersey did not need to lift a finger for a snow brush or shovel in 2020.
2020 was the least snowiest year on record. 0.5 inches of snow fell at Atlantic City International Airport during the winter of 2019-2020, the second lowest on record. However, all of that glorified dusting fell in December 2019. Otherwise, only a trace, or unmeasurable, amount of snow fell in 2020 as of Dec. 17.
In Lower Township, not a flake of snow fell in 2020. This is at least tied for the lowest on record. The period of record goes back to 1894. However, records are inconsistent and some years have missing days.
A paltry 0.6 inches of snow peppered South Jersey as a whole during the winter of 2019-2020, the least snowiest season of all time, according to Dave Robinson, the New Jersey State Climatologist. Robinson's records date back to the winter of 1895-1896. South Jersey consists of all counties south of Monmouth and Mercer counties. This is a whole 17 inches below average. As a whole, the state was the third least snowy on record.
Not a flake of snow fell in South Jersey during March, which was another record in the 125 year history of state weather reports.
The combination of a top ten warmest January, February and March played a large role in the snowless year. Without many temperatures in the 30s, 20s or teens, snow was hard to come by. When it was cold, it was dry. In fact, only one of the nine days that had high temperatures in the 30s saw even flurries.
With the strongest La Nina in a decade, southeastern New Jersey may wind up with a similar, snowless fate this winter. Snow lovers will have to hope for a rouge "big one" nor'easter for that.