North Wildwood’s Emergency Preparedness website
As we enter 2019 it is probably helpful to new viewers of the website to remind everyone of the resources that are available on this Website that can make a difference. Starting below the masthead at the top of the page the navigation bar which starts with HOME which is the page that you are currently on, next is BE PREPARED which brings you to the Be Prepared page which will fill the center portion of the page with Preparedness links (more about them later) and lastly CITY OF NORTH WILDWOOD WEBSITE which brings you to the main City of North Wildwood Website. Emergency information from the city will be posted is the center section marked BREAKING NEWS.
Back to the Ready.NorthWildwood.com website – the center section is updated about 12-15 times a year and will generally have a preparedness theme rather than breaking news which is posted on the Emergency Management FACEBOOK page. On the Right side is a box that you can sign up to receive updates to this website (that is anytime the center section is updated) below that is box with a link to sign up for the CODE RED Emergency Communication System that the City uses and below that is a box with the BE PREPARED link which changes the center to show Preparedness links (Same page as the BE PREPARED link at the top of page goes to).
Next on the LEFT HAND Side are links that generally are weather or environment links – Starting at the top and going down is the list of links along with a brief description
CODE RED Emergency Communications Network brings you to the Code Red sign up page for North Wildwood where you can add your cell phone and other phone numbers other than the hard line Verizon and Comcast numbers which are automatically entered in the system.
National Hurricane Center – brings you to the National Hurricane Center where you’ll find the latest updates on hurricanes that may affect our area.
NWS Weather for North Wildwood – This will bring you to the National Weather forecast for North Wildwood. Whenever you hear of a Watch or Warning issued for our area when you follow this link to show the weather for North Wildwood it will also display a link to the text portion of the Watch or Warning. Reading the text portions will show specific information such as snow or flood heights or timing for the storm to reach a specific town.
NWS EMERGENCY MANAGER BRIEFING – This link will display the latest NWS Briefing for Emergency Managers – just note if there is no briefing issued the last briefing will be posted so if we haven’t had a major storm in a few months the briefing from several month ago will be displayed. Not every storm warrants a briefing. During a storm a briefing will tell you when the next one will be issued.
Weather Underground website – this brings you the Weather Underground weather map which shows data from personal weather stations that are connected to the Internet. North Wildwood currently has two such weather stations one at 10th and Delaware and the other at 22nd and Surf Avenues. Both are good for local weather conditions but remember these are often inexpensive weather stations and depending on where they are located in relation to the house they readings can be slightly different in their measurements.
Tornado Chasers weather map – For severe weather followers this takes to a webpage that has a US map with the weather displayed on it along with icons for vehicles with live weather cams. Unless there is a chance of tornadoes there may not be any watchers broadcasting live.
Intellicast weather map – Brings you to a National Weather map showing weather radar for the US along with many drop downs for different views of weather conditions. A good resource for those interested in Weather.
Earthquake website Brings you to the US Geological Survey website where it shows you the latest earthquakes and if there was one in our area you can enter a “Felt” report online. There are far more earthquakes than you hear of on the news.
Space weather (for solar flares, CME’s, etc.) – Space weather is a great place to find out what is happening in the sky, such as auroras, eclipses, aviation radiation, sun spots and much more. Good resource for those that want to know.
City of North Wildwood Weather Station and tide gauge – This link brings you to the North Wildwood weather station and tide gauge located at the Boat Ramp at 5th and the bay. This is a professional weather station and tide gauge maintained by the city. The tide gauge reading are in the MLLW (Mean Low Low Water) datum that is used the by the National Weather Service when they predict tidal flooding.
2019 Tide Charts These are the tide height predictions from NOAA and are for Nummy Island which is the area behind North Wildwood closest to the tide gauge.
NWOEM Brochure – This is a link to the North Wildwood OEM Preparedness brochure that has information that is useful in preparedness planning. The brochure can be read on line, downloaded and printed out.
NWOEM Facebook Page – This is a link to the North Wildwood OEM Facebook page
CMC Tidal Flooding Awareness – This is a link to the New Cape May County Tidal Flooding Awareness page
NOW a quick review of the links on the BE PREPARED page –
New Jersey OEM Hurricane Survival Guide This brings you to the NJ OEM Hurricane Survival Guide that can be downloaded or printed out for reference.
CAPE MAY COUNTY EVACUATION ROUTES – This is a map of the designated Cape May County Evacuation routes.
NJ Ready Website – New Jersey Office of Emergency Management website
National Ready website – The National Ready Website – great information and source of much of our preparedness information.
Cape May County Emergency Information – Cape May County Office of Emergency Management Website
Tsunami Preparedness information – Being a coastal community something we are always concerned with is a Tsunami. Believe it or not several years ago a Tsunami hit the North Jersey coast. Nothing major but nonetheless a Tsunami. (note website currently down for the Government shutdown)
CDC Winter Storm Checklist – The Center for Disease Control winter storm checklist. On this page is links to other situations such as what to do if a volcano erupted and much more.
Tornado Preparedness Checklist – Another thing that can affect us is tornadoes and this will bring you to the CDC tornado Checklist page directly.
CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response Website – Similar to the last two links this brings you to the Main page of the CDC Emergency Preparedness website
NJ Register Ready – This brings you to NJ Register Ready website where people with Special Needs should register so that in the event of an emergency first responders can check to find who may have special needs and respond accordingly.
It hoped by providing explanations of the links that you may take the opportunity to explore the links to help you in your quest to be prepared for the next emergency.
One of the things that the Office of Emergency Management is concerned with is Tidal Flooding Awareness, that is residents knowing what predicted tidal flooding means to their neighborhood and property. The County Office of Emergency Management has developed a tool that the resident’s in Cape May County can use. The website is located HERE (click to go) before you go there it would be helpful to have a better understand how it works and what it’s based on. The county mapping office and an outside vendor came up with this webpage which uses elevation data obtained by LIDAR readings which were taken several years ago by a over flight of the area where radio beams were bounced off the ground and the difference in micro-seconds of the beam bouncing back determines the elevation of the surface. As the LIDAR measurements were in the NAVD88 datum to get them in the MLLW references you have to use the local National Geological Survey reference point which gives you the differences between datums. North Wildwood uses the NGS Tide Elevation Benchmark for Station 8535835 which is located at the Wildwood Crest Fishing Pier.
Because the county website uses live data it depends on being connected to a NGS online tide gage the County has divided all the municipalities into three groups and North Wildwood is in the South Group which uses the Cape May tide gauge for it’s reference point. With that the county uses Cape May’s NWS heights for Minor / Moderate / Major tidal flooding, which from our past posts you know that those designations vary from town to town. For example they show minor flooding at 6.2 feet while the NWS shows it at 6.7 feet for North Wildwood.
To use the website click on the above link, click on the tab that says “What will the flood look like?”, a new page opens and once you get past the disclaimers the map opens up, next zoom into your neighborhood. Once you have your neighborhood centered on your map, on the right hand side of the page click on the Inundation Layers – South, which will open to show different heights. Check the box of one of the heights. Start with the lowest which is 5.7 feet (above MLLW) at the Cape May Tide Gage. It will show several areas in town in blue with means it may be water covered at a tide of 5.7 feet above MLLW. As many of us that have been around for a while we know that elevation is not always the best prediction of flooding as you can see most areas in blue are not usually water covered at 5.7 feet above MLLW. Looking at the different heights you can see that it shows a larger area than we usually see at the listed tide heights. We know from watching the tides from over the years that you can two flood tides at the same height and you can have two different areas flooded. Tidal flooding is affected by wind speed, wind direction, rate of tide rising, associated low pressure, residual tidal water from the last tide, and rain fall. Flooding by using elevation is affected by bulkheads, storm drain tideflex valves, wind, height of crown of cross streets and rain. Is the map still relevant – YES just remember the areas indicated are at an elevation that will not always be flooded but may get flooded at the indicated tide height.
As the last couple of National Weather Service Coastal Flood warnings had tide heights that were under predicted or changed upward at the last minute we decided to update the call area for the Code Red Emergency Notification System. Based on a draft copy of a map produced by the NJDEP utilizing LIDAR surface measurements we expanded the warning area to encompass most of New Jersey Avenue and some sections of side streets in the 100 block East. The old map was based on the areas that received frequent nuisance flooding the new map will include the areas that may receive tidal water during a Moderate flood warning. While the map is based on elevations the area actually flooded depends on many factors such as wind speed, wind direction, timing of wind direction changes associated with the low, operation of tideflex valves, crown height of the N/S streets, if the storm drains are blocked with debris, height of private property bulkheads, rainfall amounts, rate of rainfall, residual water from the last high tide, storm surges caused by a coastal low and rate of rise of the tide. With the expanded area the Code Red flood warning messages will go to 985 more contacts. While most Code Red alerts will be sent for what we categorize as nuisance flooding and will affect only a portion of the call area the expanded area will alert people in those area that may get water.
We are hoping that the cooler weather that we have been experiencing this week has one thinking about winter preparedness. Depending on which long term winter weather forecast you look at we could be in for a colder than normal winter. As we have mentioned before there is a central core of preparedness that doesn’t change from one event to another. The preparations you made for sheltering during a coastal storm such as food, water and medication don’t change when you are stuck in your house during a snowstorm. The preparations you made for evacuation during a coastal storm, when required, is not different from the evacuation during a winter storm if your heater or utilities fail. The big difference is when you are outside. Preparing for winter one has to have adequate outerwear and the best approach is having many layers of clothing so you can adjust to the temperature differences during the day. While layers can be created from existing clothing that were made for warmer weather, if you have to purchase new outerwear one should consider items that you can use in different weather situations, such as outerwear with zip out liners which can use for different seasons and/or a waterproof outer shell to take the place of wearing a rain coat. It is very important to that you don’t forget warm gloves and hat. Also like having hip boots to walk through water you need adequate foot coverage for warmth in cold weather and when you are walking in snow. Take a few moments to get out your winter clothes and see what is usable and what needs to be updated. Next we should start thinking about transportation preparedness. If you take public transportation, do you know which radio station to listen to or number to call to see if they are still operating during a snow storm? Do you have a backup plan to get to work, school or appointments? If you use your own vehicle did you check the antifreeze in the radiator? Is the windshield washer fluid made for winter use? Do your tires have enough tread for driving in the snow? Do you refill your gas tank when it gets to half full? Do you have a winter kit (shovel, blanket, etc.) in your trunk in case you break down? Specific Preparation information is always available on North Wildwood’s Ready website – http://ready.northwildwood.com Click on the “Be Prepared” link on the lower right hand side of the page.
(09/28/18) From time to time people will call the Emergency Management Office and inquire why they weren’t called for the last flood. Most of the time the person didn’t get a call because they were not in the area the call was sent to. Now is a good time to go over how Code Red works. The City of North Wildwood, like most municipalities in the County, has a contract with Code Red to send out calls to residents. Code Red can be accessed by emergency managers by either the Internet or Phone. The process takes three steps – first we select the Audience -the Audience is the residents and it is geographic based – the emergency managers select an area of town that we want to send a message to or we can select the entire town; next we create the message – which can voice, tty, email, Code Red mobile app, and text message; and lastly we create a scenario which is simply connecting a audience and message together. We then set a time to launch the scenario. This takes a few minutes to do so we have canned scenarios for the frequently situations we encounter, such as flooding from rain, tidal flooding, tornado, or snow emergency. Currently police, fire and OEM have the ability to create and send messages and most messages are sent by Police Dispatch at the request of a NWOEM staff member or Police Shift supervisor.
Now that you know how Code Red works how do you get on the “list”. From time to time we get a call from someone who wants to be added to the list. Before Code Red many years ago we had a list where you had to opt in on a flood warning list. As Code Red is a basically a reverse 9-1-1 call all Verizon and Comcast wired phones are automatically in the Code Red database. These numbers are updated on a regular basis directly with Code Red. As many of these numbers can be un-listed we have no ability to see if your number is in the system. Code Red allows and we recommend that you sign up your cell phone and email address to be certain you don’t miss the calls. You can do so by clicking on the Code Red link located on the left hand side of the Ready.northwildwood.com website. At the end you will be asked to create an account – it is a good idea to do so that you can go back and add, change or delete information. Remember you can add as many numbers as you want and if you enter a number that is already in the system – you will only get one call as the Code Red system recognizes duplicates and only sends one call.
Now that you are registered – why didn’t you get a call? Remember all calls go to a specific geographic area which is the service address for the Verizon and Comcast landline phones and the address you put in when you entered your information at the Code Red website. Other than city wide calls which are only used for events that will affect the entire city most calls are for either flooding by rain and tidal flooding. The OEM staff picked out the areas that are regularly affected by those two situation and created two different area (or audiences). Sometimes water will show up elsewhere or exceed the area designated.
The first map shows the area or audience that the tidal flooding calls go to.
The next map shows the area or audience that the flooding from rain goes to.
Lastly we get calls from people that signed up their cell phones and email addresses and have moved out of the area and don’t want to get calls. If they have created an account when they added their numbers they can simply login to the Code Red website and delete the account. If they forgot their login or neglected to create one and want to take their names out they can contact the OEM office and leave a message with name, address, number and email address they want deleted. A staff member will add that information to the the do not call list.
July 1, 2014
As we are already a month into the new hurricane season and our first tropical storm has been named it is time to check our emergency plans and preparation. We urge everyone to visit the links on the left hand side of this page. They are links listed under BE PREPARED. Preparation is not hard and while most preparation needs will be the same for everyone each person will have to come up with his or her own plan. By visiting the suggested websites and tailoring the information to your specific situation you can check your plans and ultimately will be better prepared.
Also today due to the many requests to be added to the flood notification list we have expanded the flood notification to all residents west of New York Avenue from Spruce to 26th Avenues. Phones in these areas will be called and a recorded message will played. There are two messages that can be sent one known as the initial call sent when it appears that flooding will take place and one sent when the siren has been sounded. These phone calls are sent via the CODE RED Community Alert System. Read below to how to add your cell or other phone numbers. REMEMBER this system is used city wide for other notifications so if you are not in the flood prone area you still should visit the CODE RED website and add your alternate phone numbers.
Currently the Code Red Community Alert System will dial every Verizon and Comcast Phone in North Wildwood. However with many people relying on Cellular phones the system will enable you to add phones to your address. Remember this system is based on North Wildwood addresses so when you sign up you need to attach your out of town phone to your North Wildwood address. Being addressed based the city will be using the system to alert those in flood prone areas of flood warnings, those on the snow emergency routes to move their cars and on occasion when there is a natural gas leak or police emergency a circular area around the incident will be notified. Those of you visiting this page can follow this link to get a head start on signing up your “other” phones (Click on the CODE RED LOGO)
On the Code Red website you will be asked if you want to add your email address or receive text messages. We have the ability to duplicate the contents of the voice message into an email and truncated text message. As this will only be used in an emergency why not add all your contact preferences and methods so you can keep informed. Also those with “smart” phones will have the capability to download the Code Red App.
At the North Wildwood Office of Emergency Management we feel our central job is to keep communications when the normal systems are failing. Therefore we don’t put one form of communication above another. At times some may seem simplistic in these times of technology however when normal systems fail we will fall back on them. That is why we depend on a fire siren, AM radio and telephone as basic methods of notification. We will be using North Wildwood’s AM1640 as the method of communication that can put the most information out. Please get your self a good AM radio. Remember when there are no emergencies AM 1640 broadcasts special event information – ever wondered what time the free concert starts and who is playing? it is on AM 1640; want to know what the start and end times of the festival in the entertainment district? it’s on AM 1640 as well as the upcoming events for the next several weeks.