Distant Hurricane Jose batters New Jersey coast

SEA BRIGHT, N.J. — Rough surf is hitting the Jersey Shore as Hurricane Jose churns far off in the Atlantic Ocean.

In Sea Bright, bulldozers mounded sand into a protective wall to prevent erosion and flooding caused by the storm, which is not expected to hit New Jersey directly but is still making its presence felt.

“Everybody knows it’s here,” said Frank Bain of Jose.  He owns Bain Hardware in Sea Bright and said people came in to buy extra batteries in case they lost power, but residents are more focused on Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that is poised to hit Puerto Rico. It's unclear yet whether Maria will hit the East Coast.

"Everybody’s just preparing. They notice storms are coming,” he said.

In Belmar, Mayor Matt Doherty tweeted out a photo of a fishing pier built after Sandy. A couple of the legs appear to have come off in the surf.

In Wildwood, a resident posted a photo of the waves topping a walkway and flooding a local road.

The winds were whipping this morning in Union Beach. The rain began in Monmouth County around midday.

High tide is expected to bring added coastal flooding tonight. Mayors in flood-prone communities, including Newark, Hoboken and the Jersey Shore, have warned residents to secure their outdoor belongings and move their cars to higher ground. Officials urged motorists to avoid flood-prone streets.