NEW YORK - For coastal communities in New York and New Jersey, the powerful snowstorm menacing the East Coast this weekend brings an added danger beyond freezing temperatures, power outages and slippery roads.
More than three years after Superstorm Sandy caused massive flooding damage in the region, officials said they were not expecting that level of storm surge but were nevertheless prepared for anything.
"Between the snow and the flooding, personally, I'm more worried about the flooding," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
The storm's arrival coincides with a full moon, ensuring that strong winds will combine with a high tide to produce significant flooding. The threat comes as many communities are still struggling to recover following Sandy's devastation.
The beach resort town of Seaside Heights in New Jersey currently has a population of about 1,000, a far cry from the 3,000 year-round residents it had before Sandy, according to borough administrator Christopher Vaz. Many residents are still unable to return to homes destroyed by the floodwater.
Vaz said officials have encouraged elderly and sick residents to consider leaving low-lying areas. The flooding is "absolutely" more of a concern than the snow, Vaz said.
"We can handle six or 12 inches of snow," he said.
In Ocean City, just south of Atlantic City, crews have used bulldozers to block beach access points with sand in an effort to slow down any storm surge. A number of vehicles, including repurposed military trucks, were available in case evacuations are needed.