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"It's up to Mother Nature": Jersey Shore preps for Tropical Storm Ophelia

Emergency management officials at Jersey Shore prepare for flooding from Tropical Storm Ophelia
Emergency management officials at Jersey Shore prepare for flooding from Tropical Storm Ophelia 02:09

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- Down the Shore, emergency management officials are working around the clock prepping communities as tropical storm Ophelia moves in. Time will tell just how bad the flooding could get in coastal communities in Ocean City.

Officials are urging everyone to prepare now. As the saying goes, better to be safe than sorry.

RELATED: How to prepare for Tropical Storm Ophelia; how storm will impact Philadelphia area

It was a busy Friday morning at Pirates Den in Brigantine.

Over eggs and coffee, the topic of conversation has turned to Tropical Storm Ophelia.

"I'm just headed over to the Marina now to tie down my brother-in-law's boat," Nick Pacitti said.

From a stop at the Marina to tie-down outside furniture, Pacitti speaks for many who call this Shore town home year-round.

"There's not much we can do. It's Mother Nature," Pacitti said. "You just gotta batten down the hatches."

Norma McManus says the sea wall saves the restaurant from major flooding. A few blocks away, she says, isn't so lucky.

"I'm hoping the beach doesn't wash away because I just got done doing it," she said.

CBS News Philadelphia

Ahead of the storm, people enjoyed a crisp and certainly windy day on the sand as bulldozers buzzed behind them.

"We've been lucking out. Unfortunately, our counterparts of the North Jersey this year have been hit with bad weather with the heavy torrential rains so I guess it's our turn," Vincent Jones said.

For 25 years, Jones has served as Atlantic County's Emergency Management Director. He says no matter the size of the storm there are concerns with everyone in terms of flooding, erosion and damage.

In preparation for a storm like this, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District worked throughout the summer alongside state and city partners on a multi-million-dollar dune and berm project.

"It's up to Mother Nature to decide how much beach we lose and how much damage gets done," Jones said.

The ask Friday is to be prepared now, which means make sure phones are charged and things like outside furniture are tied down.

Preparation underway in Cape May County with expectations to be hit with flooding 02:46

The other big concern in Ocean City and across Cape May County is flooding, especially around low lying and bayside areas. Throughout the day, the Department of Public Works crews in Wildwood Crest removed wooden walkways and beach boxes.

"Our biggest problem is this time of the year there's a lot of second homeowners that are down on the barrier islands that may not know the flood areas in the places of concern," Marty Pagliughi, director of OEM Cape May County, said. "So we're trying to get the word out."

Cape May County's director of emergency management is expecting moderate to major flooding over the weekend. Among his biggest concerns are tidal flooding and power outages from high winds.

"Most of the municipalities are going to be putting out the reverse 911 code reds having people move their cars, watch out for the flooding," Pagliughi said.

The impact of Tropical Storm Ophelia at the Jersey Shore 03:04

Before the heavy rain and wind rolls into the Jersey Shore, we found a few families who were taking advantage of the thrill before the storm.

"It literally became a ghost town as soon as we walked up here," one person said.

The Ocean City Boardwalk looked far from crowded Friday night and the wind whipped up and down it. A few people enjoyed one last stroll through the salty air before the storm moves in.

"We are always looking for an adventure and I said come on let's go up to the Boardwalk and have some fun on this windy night," Linda Long said.

Others took a drive down to see the rough surf for themselves.

In Margate, Lucy the Elephant will be closed on Saturday for the safety of staff and visitors.

But, whether you hunkered down or storm chased Friday night, officials can't say enough that they want everyone to be prepared for the storm, especially with the tidal flooding and power outages.

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