NEW YORK — Weather analysts had a relatively good forecast for beleaguered Northeast coastal residents Tuesday: It looked like a new storm that threatened to complicate Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts Wednesday would be weaker than expected.
As the storm moved up the Atlantic coast from Florida, it was expected to veer farther offshore than earlier projections had indicated. Jeff Masters of the private weather service Weather Underground said that means less wind and rainfall on land.
Even so, he said winds still could gust to 50 mph in New York and New Jersey on Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Lauren Nash, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service, said wind gusts might blow down tree limbs weakened from Sandy and cause more power outages.
Gusts may occasionally reach 60 mph in coastal Connecticut and Long Island Wednesday night, she said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned Tuesday that high wind may mean some residents who regained power would lose it again, and the wind also could slow efforts to restore power.
There is “nothing we can do to stop the storms,” he said.
Storm surges along the coasts of New Jersey and New York are expected to reach perhaps 3 feet, just half to a third of what Sandy caused last week, Mr. Masters said. While that should produce only minor flooding, he said it will cause some erosion problems along the New Jersey coast and the shores of Long Island, where Sandy destroyed some protective dunes.
In New York City, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said people who remained in some extremely flood-prone areas would be asked to leave their homes voluntarily “out of precaution.” The city ordered construction stopped and parks closed for the new storm.
Coastal Virginia also could get a surge of 2 or 3 feet, causing minor flooding on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay during high tides Wednesday morning and evening, Mr. Masters said.
However, most of the storm’s rain will stay offshore, with maybe an inch or two expected in Massachusetts and less than an inch elsewhere along the coast, he said.
Up to an inch of snow may fall in northeastern New Jersey and the lower Hudson River Valley, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Layer said. Central Massachusetts and western Connecticut also could get an inch or two of snow, Mr. Masters said.
Along the Jersey shore, which was devastated by last week’s superstorm, there was some relief that damage projections from the nor’easter have been scaled back, but there still was concern about the ocean barreling past beaches and dunes that were largely washed away.
High winds might be “pushing that water right back across flat dunes and flooding the town again,” said Dan Friendly, who lives on Ocean Avenue in Point Pleasant Beach in a neighborhood hard hit by Sandy.
In neighboring Bay Head, heavy machinery was used to hastily push sand piles back where well-rooted dune systems once stood.
“We no longer have a dune system; there are just piles of sand back on the beach,” said Bay Head Borough Council member D’Arcy Rohan Green. “Hopefully, they will hold.”
AP writers Wayne Parry and Jennifer Peltz contributed to this story.