Tracking Severe Weather Threat for New Jersey on Sunday
Greg’s Weather Center has put together a journal of weather conditions during the course of the day on August 21st to track severe weather developments as a cold front pushes into New Jersey from the west.
August 21, 2016
7:00 AM–Took a look at the GWC WX Station just before going out for a walk on Sunday morning. Temperature is at 73 degrees and the dew point is at 70.
9:42 AM–Returned from playing some basketball up at Mobus Field by Watchung Lake. Temperature is now up to 81 degrees. Humidity is very high at 75 percent for a dew point of 73 degrees. Heat index now up to 87. Barometer steady at 29.83 inches of Hg. Had some rain earlier this morning. Only about 0.01 inches. Add that to the 0.05 inches from a sun shower on Saturday afternoon, and the rainfall total for the month at GWC is now up to 1.30 inches, and for the year it is 22.60 inches.
1:40 AM–Been outside periodically to check up on the time lapse video that I’m putting together for today’s weather. Have some nice cumulus clouds developing. There is a little bit of a breeze. Still warm and humid. Temperature is now up to 87 degrees with the humidity at 61 percent. Dew point is at 72 degrees for a heat index of 93. Barometer falling sharply at 29.77 inches of Hg.
3:10 PM–Skies getting overcast and dark outside GWC in South Plainfield, NJ. Checked the radar, and the showers and storms that were in Eastern Pennsylvania are now moving into Western New Jersey. The outer bands of those showers and storms are in Somerset County right now. Temperature is down to 86 degrees. Humidity is up to 65 percent. Dew point is at 73 for a heat index of 92. Barometer continues to fall sharply at 29.74 inches of Hg. Winds are picking up.
3:37 PM–Took another step outside to check conditions. Felt a little raindrop on my hand. Temperature is down to 84 degrees. Humidity steady at 65 percent. Dew point is down a little to 72 degrees for a heat index of 90. Barometer still at 29.74 inches of Hg, but falling. Winds are light.
6:43 PM–Rain has been falling since around 5:00 PM. Light to moderate rainfall though. So far, there has been 0.15 inches of rain at GWC in South Plainfield. Temperature is down to 76 degrees. Humidity is up to 94 percent for a dew point of 74. Heat index is 79. Barometer is steady at 29.74 inches of Hg.
10:31 PM–Rain has stopped. Total rainfall for the day is 0.17 inches at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ. Temperature is 75 degrees. Humidity is still up at 96 percent for a dew point of 74 and a heat index of 79. Barometer is rising at 29.77 inches of Hg.
August 22, 2016
6:00 AM–Woke up about an hour ago. About to go out for a morning walk. Cold front has passed through. Checked the GWC WX Station. Temperature is down to 66 degrees. Probably the lowest morning temperature we’ve had in several weeks. Dew point is also down to 63 degrees.
8:09 AM–Came back from doing a morning run and a couple of errands. Temperature is up to 68 degrees with the dew point at 63. It is also a little breezy outside. Barometer is rising rapidly at 29.93 inches of Hg. Total rainfall from Sunday was 0.17 inches. Total for the month is now 1.46. Total rain for the year is now 22.76 inches.
Some Storms Could Be Severe As Front Approaches From West
Over the last couple weeks here in New Jersey, there has been a tremendous amount of humidity. Last weekend, dew points were in the upper 70s to low 80s. For example, the dew point on Saturday at GWC was 82, and it was 81 last Sunday. Although storms earlier this week quelled some of the humidity, the dew points have remained quite high.
After some pleasant weather on Wednesday, the dew points went back up into the low to mid 70s from Thursday to Sunday morning. Fortunately, temperatures weren’t as warm as they were during the recent heatwave so conditions have been a bit more comfortable. A refreshing change is on the way though, but it will come as the result of some afternoon and evening thunderstorms on Sunday.
A cold front has been pushing eastward through the country. On Saturday, the frontal system was responsible for producing severe weather in Michigan and Ohio as well as other locations in the Midwest. There were 11 different severe weather reports from the weather on Saturday in Michigan and Ohio, which is the most since July 7th according to The Weather Channel.
Now, the front is pushing into the Northeast. Showers and storms are already firing up in Western Pennsylvania and New York, and that weather will be inching closer and closer to the Garden State, New York City, and Philadelphia as the day progresses on Sunday. Storms are forecast to affect GWC and Central Jersey sometime during the late afternoon and early evening.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has put sections of Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey under a marginal risk for severe storms. The National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly, New Jersey issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the entire Garden State on Sunday. Conditions possible with these storms include strong wind gusts, hail, heavy rainfall, and dangerous cloud to ground lightning.
So far this month, GWC has received far less rain than it did in July. As of this morning, there has only been 1.30 inches of rain here in South Plainfield. Last month, there was over six inches of rain. June saw several inches of rainfall. There have been a number of severe weather incidents at GWC within the past month. Most notable were the incidents on July 18th and July 25th. Both events were spurred on by tremendous heat and humidity.
There were some strong storms overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday at GWC. Heavy thunder with vivid lightning accompanied these storms, which also had some gusty winds that brought down large tree limbs not only in the neighborhood outside GWC, but also in nearby Piscataway. Yesterday, the heat and humidity produced storms that dumped torrential rain in Long Island during the early afternoon. Behind the front will be some welcome changes though.
After some lingering showers on Monday morning, the temperature and dew point levels will drop. The Mercury will have a tough time getting into the 80s over the next two or three days early next week, and lows will dip into the 50s. Dew points will be much more comfortable. So, there will be some short term pain with the storms this afternoon, but that will yield a much deserved reward to start the final two weeks of August.
Twenty-One Days of 90 Degree Plus Temperatures at GWC
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, there was an emergence of an El Niño pattern and for the past several years, temperatures had been more comfortable. The summers of 2011 and 2012 saw peak temperatures over 100 degrees, but then in 2013, 2014, and 2015, the peaks were only in the mid 90s.
While the heat has not been as intense as the summers of 2011 and 2012, there has certainly been a lot of it at GWC. The peak temperature of the year at GWC was reached recently during the latest heat wave to grip the Garden State and Mid-Atlantic States.
On Saturday, August 13th, the high temperature at GWC in South Plainfield was 96 degrees, the highest to date in 2016 for this location. On top of that, the humidity reached its highest level of 2016 with a peak dew point of 82. Combining the heat and humidity, the heat index reached a remarkable 125 degrees.
The intense tropical heat and humidity last weekend were the highlights of the latest heatwave at GWC and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. This latest torrid stretch of weather lasted for six days. It was the fourth heatwave of the summer at GWC. The longest stretch of 90 degree plus heat was eight days cumulating with powerful storms on July 25th.
There have been 21 days of 90 degree plus weather at GWC in South Plainfield since the week before Memorial Day Weekend. The summer season got off to an auspicious start with a four day heat wave that greeted the unofficial start to summer. With the intense heat and humidity, something has had to give at times, and that means severe weather.
Like those summers of 2011 and 2012, there was plenty of strong to severe storms throughout New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic this summer. Most notably for GWC was on July 18th and July 25th. Most recently, there were some strong storms during the overnight hours earlier this week. Storms on Wednesday morning brought down large tree limbs in Piscataway and South Plainfield.
While July was a very wet month with over six inches of rain at GWC in South Plainfield, August has been relatively dry. Much of the rain has come within the past week with 0.53 inches of rain coming from strong storms early on Wednesday morning. So far this August, there has only been 1.24 inches of rain at GWC in South Plainfield. For the year, there has been a total of 22.54 inches.
Here is a weather journal that I kept during the three days of heat and humidity at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ.
August 11, 2016
11:59 AM–Just took a look outside. Skies are partly cloudy and it feels very muggy. Temperature is up to 88 degrees with a dew point of 79 for a heat index of 102.
3:26 PM–Very oppressive conditions outside. Temperature is at 91 after reaching a high of 92 degrees. Dew point is downright tropical at 80 degrees. Heat index up to 112. Just was outside and saw quite a bit of cumulus clouds while in Spring Lake Park.
3:29 PM–National Weather Service has issued a Excessive Heat Watch for much of New Jersey starting Saturday afternoon and lasting until Sunday evening. Heat index values could peak around 110 degrees on Saturday and 107 on Sunday.
7:35 PM–High temperature at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ on Thursday was 93 degrees. Dew point peaked at 81 degrees while the heat index was oppressive at 115.
10:57 PM–Radar showing large cluster of showers and storms moving about to move into Northern New Jersey.
11:59 PM–Checked outside. Light rain starting to fall. Lightning in the distance. Radar now showing storms about to hit GWC.
August 12, 2016
7:51 AM–Woke up a little while ago. Windows to the front porch door are all fogged up because of the tropical air we have in place, and the cold air inside in the living room. Temperature is 74 degrees with a dew point of 74. Humidity is at 98 percent. Heat index is up to 78. Outside there are already cirrocumulus clouds forming. The air already feels very muggy.
9:38 AM–Just returned from doing my morning walk. Very humid outside. Worked up a really good sweat out there. Cirrocumulus clouds continue to develop. Lots of dew in the backyard. Sun not strong yet. Temperature is 80 degrees with humidity of 95 percent for a dew point of 78. Heat index up to 89. Barometer steady at 29.90 inches of Hg. Total rain from storms early this morning was only 0.03 inches.
12:28 PM–Checked the latest conditions at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ. Temperature is now up to 89 degrees. Dew point is downright tropical at 80 degrees. Heat index is up to 106. Barometer is falling at 29.88 inches of Hg. Looking at the sky conditions, there are some puffy cumulus clouds overhead. Feels like a furnace outside.
1:38 PM–Looked at the latest weather conditions at the GWC WX Station. Temperature is up to 91 degrees with humidity at 71 percent for a dew point of 81. Heat index is now up to 111 degrees. Barometer still falling at 29.84 inches.
3:06 PM–Just checked the time lapse video being recorded on the old iPhone 5s that I have in the yard. Still very hot and humid. Plenty of cumulus clouds around. Temperature is now up to 93 degrees. Humidity is at 65 percent for a dew point of 79 degrees. Heat index is 112 degrees. Barometer continues to fall at 29.83 inches of Hg.
5:08 PM–Just checked conditions at the GWC WX Station. Temperature is at the high for the day at 93 degrees. Dew point peaked at 81 degrees. Heat index topped out at 118. Currently, the dew point is down to 78 while the heat index has dropped off to 111.
6:15 PM–Thunderstorm moving through with lots of lightning and some gusty winds. Not a lot of rain though. Only 0.02 inches.
7:53 PM–Temperature dropped to 78 degrees. Humidity is at 88 percent. Dew point is still high at 75. Heat index is down to 83 degrees. Barometer is steady at 29.84 inches of Hg.
August 13, 2016
6:52 AM–Getting ready to head out to Trenton Catholic Academy for some games from the 2016 Summer Primetime Shootout. Relatively speaking, conditions are comfortable, but there is a lot of moisture in the air. Lots of dew on the ground. Windows on the porch door are fogged up.
11:15 AM–Leaving Trenton Catholic, and you can feel the heat and humidity once you got out of the gym. I was quite surprised how comfortable conditions were in the gym. There were a couple fans running in the gym, but I don’t believe that there was any air conditioning. Window shades were down to prevent the sunlight from getting in.
2:00 PM–Temperature in Woodbridge, NJ up to 93 degrees with a heat index of 105. Had a workout in South Amboy’s Waterfront Park, and the humidity finally got to me, but I was able to get a good walk and run in.
5:05 PM–Checked the conditions here at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ. Temperature reached the highest it has been all year at 96 degrees. Dew point reached a record way 82 degrees, and the heat index was 125, another record.
7:47 PM–Checked the conditions at the GWC WX Station. The sun might be going down, but conditions are still oppressive outside. Temperature is down to 90 degrees with a dew point of 79 for a heat index of 107. Barometer is steady at 29.82 inches of Hg.
August 14, 2016
7:15 AM–Getting ready to go outside for a morning walk. Temperature is up to 75 degrees. Dew point is at 74 percent. Heat index is at 78.
9:45 AM–Just came in from my walk outside. I figured to get it in before the real intense heat and humidity of the day kicked in. Walked for over 2 hours and did 16,500 steps. Very sweaty. Even for a morning, it was sweltering. Cirrocumulus clouds starting to form.
1:14 PM–Just stepped outside. Have some cumulus clouds off to the northwest of GWC. Feels like a blast furnace. Inside it is comfortable since I activated the ceiling fan in my room. Feels much better. Temperature is 90 degrees. Dew point is 77. Heat index is 104.
7:13 PM–Driving home on Interstate 295 North, I can see a cumulonimbus cloud for a nearby storm.
8:25 PM–Now in South Plainfield, NJ, can see some flashes of lightning and cloud to cloud Lightning. Some rain fell.
10:39 PM–Checked today’s highs at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ. Temperature topped out at 95 degrees. Dew point peaked at 79. Heat index climbed to only 113. Total precipitation from the thunderstorm that came through was only 0.09 inches.
August 15, 2016
7:44 AM–Just stepped outside for a second. Lots of dew on the ground. Porch window fogged up a little. Temperature is at 74 degrees with a dew point of 74 for a heat index of 78. Barometer is rising at 30.11 inches of Hg. Had 0.01 inches of rain overnight. Rainfall for the month so far is just 0.65 inches. Rainfall for the year is at 21.95 inches.
9:32 AM–Just came in from going for a morning walk outside. Also did a mile run. Still very humid. Checked the conditions at the GWC WX Station. Temperature is at 80 degrees. Humidity is at 78 percent for a dew point of 73. Heat index is up to 85 degrees. Barometer is still rising at 30.12 inches of Hg.
12:05 PM–Did some work in the house. Checked conditions outside. Skies are sunny with some puffy cumulus clouds over head. Temperature at GWC is 86 degrees with humidity at 61 percent for a dew point of 71. Heat index is up to 92 degrees. Barometer is steady at 30.13 inches of Hg.
1:53 PM–Just returned from the store. Sun is very strong this afternoon. Temperature at GWC is now 89 degrees with a humidity of 57 percent for a dew point of 72. Heat index is up to 96 degrees. Barometer is steady at 30.12 inches. Showers and storms currently well to the west in Western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.
2:57 PM–For the fifth straight day, the temperature has reached at least 90 degrees at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ. Right now at the GWC WX Station, the temperature is at 91 degrees with the humidity at 51 percent for a dew point of 70. Heat index is up to 98 and the barometer remains steady at 30.12 inches of Hg. Skies remain sunny with puffy cumulus clouds about. Conditions are better than they were this weekend, but still fairly hot and humid.
8:32 PM–Checked the high temperature for today at GWC, and it was 91 degrees. Dew point peaked at 76. Heat index topped out at 100. Currently, the temperature is down to 80 degrees. Dew point is down to 73 degrees. Heat index is 85. Barometer remains steady at 30.12 inches of Hg.
August 16, 2016
7:07 PM–Woke up a little while ago. Took a peek outside. Sun has come up. Fog on the porch door windows. Temperature is 74 degrees. Humidity at 96 percent. Dew point at 73. Heat index is 78 degrees. Barometer is 30.14 inches of Hg and steady.
9:33 PM–Just came home after working out this morning. Did over 12,000 steps between a 4 mile walk and a 2.3 mile run. Very humid. Skies are sunny with plenty of cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds developing. Temperature is now up to 82 degrees with 77 percent humidity. Dew point is at 75. Heat index is up to 89. Barometer steady at 30.15 inches of Hg.
1:12 PM–Been taking occasional looks outside. Skies were overcast for a brief time this morning, but the sun eventually battled through it. Still have some cumulus clouds about. Temperature at GWC is now up to 86 degrees with the humidity at 71 percent for a dew point of 75 and a index that has gone back and forth a bit between 95 and 96 degrees. Barometer is falling at 30.10 inches of Hg.
3:21 PM–Just stepped outside. Getting close to cumulus congestus clouds. Warm and humid. Radar showing a really good line of storms in East Central Pennsylvania from north of Williamsport southward to near Gettysburg. Temperature right now is 89 degrees from a high of 91. Dew point is currently at the high for the day at 78. Heat index is down to 102 from a high of 106. Barometer is falling sharply at 30.03 inches of Hg.
5:38 PM–Checked radar earlier, and found that the line of storms are now in Eastern Pennsylvania from the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area to Reading. Temperature had risen to 90 degrees earlier, but is back down to 89. Dew point down to 77 degrees, but the heat index remains at 102. Barometer continues to fall sharply at 30.00 inches of Hg.
8:34 PM–Line of storms broke up, especially on the southern portion of the front as it approached New Jersey. Heard some rumbles of thunder. Skies grew dark especially around 7:30 PM, but there was no rain or severe weather at GWC. Temperature is down to 86 degrees. Humidity is at 77 percent for a dew point of 78 degrees. Heat index is down to 97 degrees. Barometer is still falling at 29.97 inches of Hg.
August 17, 2016
12:33 AM–Woke up to the sound of thunder. Checked radar. Strong line of storms coming through. National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly had issued a Special Weather Statement regarding the storms. Passed that along to my followers. Thunder is very loud. Some flashes of lightning.
5:20 AM–Getting ready to go to Washington Rock to catch a sunrise. Checked the temperature and heat index. Temperature was 74, but the heat index was 78. Still a lot of humidity outside.
7:45 AM–Returned from trips to Washington Rock and Spring Lake Park. Went for a walk in Spring Lake Park. Had quite a bit of fog at Washington Rock. Still quite humid. There is a little more of a breeze though. Feels more comfortable. Saw a large tree limb down over on Walnut Street in Piscataway. Also saw a similar tree limb down in South Plainfield.
9:15 AM–Returned from taking another trip to Spring Lake Park. Went back there to play some basketball, which I haven’t done in a while. Felt good, but it was very humid. Worked up a good sweat.
11:45 AM–Just finished a job interview here in the house. Temperature is up to 81 degrees with the heat index of 83. Dew point is at 68. So, things are a bit more comfortable. Could the heatwave be broken today?
12:33 PM–Did another check of the GWC WX Station here at the house. Looking much more comfortable today than it has been for the last week or so. Temperature is at 82 degrees with the humidity at 61 percent for a dew point of 67. Heat index is only at 84. Have a bit of a breeze going with winds between 10 and 15 miles per hour. Barometer is at 30.01 inches of Hg and steady. Had 0.53 inches of rain from the storms overnight.
6:39 PM–Returned from a busy afternoon with appointments and interviews. Very nice late summer afternoon. Nice breeze. Much more pleasant than it has been. Actually, the heatwave officially ended as the high at GWC was only 85 degrees. Dew point peaked earlier this morning at 77 degrees. Heat index topped out at 92. Rainfall rate from storms this morning was 8.35 inches per hour. Currently, the temperature is 83 degrees with the humidity at 62 degrees for a dew point of 68. Heat index is down to 87 degrees. Barometer is steady at 29.97 inches of Hg.
Here is a timeline of weather conditions at Greg’s Weather Center in South Plainfield, New Jersey during the day on Sunday as a severe weather event unfolded across the Mid-Alantic.
7:21 AM–Woke up to see that the skies were quite dark.
8:30 AM–Stepped outside, and skies were overcast, but no rain yet.
10:00 AM–Saw the latest update from the Garden State Weather page that indicated moderate CAPE, some shear, but not much in the way of rising air or vertical development yet due to the cloud cover. Severe weather still possible.
11:00 AM–Checked out the Storm Prediction Center web site, which indicated that there is still an enhanced risk of severe weather for much of New Jersey late this afternoon and evening. SPC did point out that the ingredients for severe weather aren’t quite there yet due to cloud cover, but there could still be a significant rain and wind event.
12:00 PM–Rain came through earlier and I posted an article in the blog on both the severe weather threat for New Jersey on Sunday, and the newly formed Tropical Depression Three in the Gulf of Mexico. Rainfall came down fairly intensely in a short period of time. GWC WX Station rain gauge received 0.12 inches of rain.
1:35 PM–Just came back inside after going outside for a walk. Skies remained overcast, but no rain occurred during the walk. Air was very moist, thick, and humid. If there is some sun later this afternoon, things could get interesting.
2:04 PM–Just checked the local weather radar. Showers and storms currently in Central Pennsylvania with a narrow line of strong to severe storms leading the way near State College. The Weather Channel app indicates a large area of severe weather possible from New York to Georgia. Strong storms also possible from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. TWC also indicates thunderstorm possible by 3:30 PM.
4:30 PM–Went outside to do a time lapse video, and noticed that the skies were becoming a bit more threatening. I also learned from the TWC app that a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was in effect for Eastern Pennsylvania and all of New Jersey until 10:00 PM. Made sure that all my electronic devices had enough power available. I also got my weather radio ready.
6:00 PM–Several severe thunderstorm warnings came through for Western New Jersey. Also took a look outside at the latest conditions and shot some video. Clouds definitely moving at a pretty good clip overhead, and continue to become more impressive despite the lack of sunshine today.
7:00 PM–Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Middlesex County. Set up the GoPro Cam on the roof of the house to take some video footage of the storm coming through. A few moments later, at about 7:10 PM, the storm began to come through with heavy rains and really strong gusts of wind. You couldn’t see anything outside because the window was awash with water from the rain and wind.
8:06 PM–Checked data on the GWC WX Station. The storm that came through brought about 0.41 inches of rain with it and at a rainfall rate of 1.63 inches per hour. Winds were about 35 miles per hour. Checked the debris outside the house and there were no trees branches or wires down as well as no structural damage. Only debris from fallen leaves. High temperature today was only 75 degrees, but the dew point peaked at 73. Total rainfall so far for the day has been 0.53 inches for a total of 0.56 inches so far this month, and 13.61 inches so far for this year.
9:20 PM–Just came in from taking a walk around a portion of the town. Didn’t see any serious damage only a few decently sized tree branches by Sacred Heart School, and some more flimsy tree branches down in my neighborhood. Lot of leaves down. My guess that the winds in my neighborhood and surrounding areas on the north side of town had only 40 mile per hour winds.
Much of Garden State Under Enhanced Risk for Severe Storms; TD #3 Forms in Southern Gulf
On Saturday, I had posted several articles on things going on in and around the country weather wise including a potential severe weather event for the Mid-Atlantic United States and a developing tropical disturbance in the Northwestern Caribbean. Well, since my posts on those two entities, things have changed quite a bit with more of New Jersey falling under an enhanced risk of severe weather on Sunday and a new depression forming in the Southern Gulf of Mexico.
First, let’s take a look at the current situation with the severe weather potential in the Mid-Atlantic. We could be looking at the possibility of a very significant if not historic weather situation in places like Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Now while I say that there is this potential for a significant severe weather episode for these locations, I must add that this is not set in stone, or at least yet. Over the last 24 hours, the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma has place a larger area under an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms including some big east coast cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.
The latest outlook provided by the SPC this morning indicates that there will be several clusters of storms developing anywhere from Georgia to New York with the highest chance for severe weather in the Mid-Atlantic States. Currently, much of the eastern third of the country is under either a marginal or enhanced risk of severe weather. With dew points peaking in the upper 60s to low 70s during the day across the Mid-Atlantic, and an approaching cold front that has a nice shortwave brining additional energy behind it, there is a chance for severe thunderstorms to develop. However, the most recent model data from this morning is indicating that the threat might not be as significant.
The 12z, or 8:00 AM run of the HRRR indicated that while the CAPE levels, or measure of potential energy critical for storms was moderate and there could be a decent amount of shear available for rotation, there is not enough rising motion in the atmosphere since the lapse rates aren’t running as high. Part of the reason for this is the fact that there has been significant cloud cover on Sunday morning across much of the Mid-Atlantic. The translation of all of this is that not all the ingredients are there for really severe weather to develop. However, while there may not be all the classic ingredients for supercell thunderstorm and tornado development, there still could be enough upper level energy for significant straight line winds to come through along with heavy rains.
Things could change though. Another model run is expected around 18z or 2:00 PM this afternoon, and by that time, things could clear out enough following the warm front passage for the sun to come out and heat things up. If the sun is able to do that, its energy could provide the spark that could alter the atmosphere enough to bring about a more significant severe weather event. The bottom line is that it is very important to pay attention to the weather and sky conditions if you are out today. Also, make sure that you are keeping track of the weather through resources on your mobile phone, Internet, television and weather radio. Speaking of your weather radio, you also may want to make sure that you have plenty of backup power available for all your devices in the home.
Remember, this could be, and I emphasize could be a very dangerous weather situation developing. The ingredients for it may not be there right now, but that could rapidly change if certain things occur. The fact that the Storm Prediction Center has placed places such as New Jersey under an enhanced risk is very significant since it is very rare, and it should be taken seriously. Another important weather system that we are watching is the newly formed Tropical Depression Three in the Gulf of Mexico, which emerged late this morning after being a disturbance in the Caribbean for the past several days. Tropical Storm Warnings are already up for portions of Florida with the development of this depression.
The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season is already off to a busy start with three tropical cyclones now after this depression formed. Currently, Tropical Depression Three is located 120 miles to the Northwest of Cozumel, Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula, or about 550 miles to the Southwest of Tampa, Florida. Maximum sustained winds are at 35 miles per hour with gusts close to tropical storm force. The minimum central pressure is down to 1005 millibars or 29.68 inches of Hg. TD Three is presently moving slowly to the north at 8 miles per hour, and that motion is expected to shift more to the northeast with an increase in forward momentum.
The latest track forecast is calling for the depression to be in the area of the Big Bend region of Florida sometime on Monday afternoon thanks to a push from a storm system currently over Texas. A Tropical Storm Warning is currently in effect for that region of the Sunshine State from Indian Pass to Englewood. There will be several impacts to worry about for residents that could be impacted by this system: Rain, Surge, Wind, and Tornadoes. Rainfall is the biggest threat with affected areas expected to receive anywhere from 3 to 5 inches with isolated locations getting up to 8 inches. Storm surge could range from anywhere between one to three feet above normal. Tropical storm force winds of over 40 miles per hour are anticipated in the areas closest to landfall on Monday afternoon, and with any landfalling system, you have the possibility of tornadoes.
The intensity forecast is calling for the depression to become Tropical Storm Colin within the next 12 to 24 hours. Peak intensity in terms of wind strength is expected within 72 hours as a moderate strength tropical storm with 60 mile per hour winds before coming a post tropical system. All residents of Florida’s Big Bend region as well as inland areas in the Central and Northeastern part of the state along with Southern Georgia need to closely monitor the progress of this developing system.
Enhanced Risk of Severe Weather for Southern Jersey; Marginal Risk for Rest of Garden State
After a wet month of May with 3.40 inches of rain for places like GWC in South Plainfield, there has been a bit of a lull at the start of June for much of the Garden State. We are already into the fourth day of the new month, and so far, only 0.03 inches of rain has been received by the GWC rain gauge here in Northern Middlesex County. However, all of that is expected to change when a storm system comes through on Sunday afternoon and evening.
As of this morning, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, portions of the Garden State will be under an enhanced risk for severe weather while others will be under a marginal risk. Usually, portions of New Jersey never get placed under an enhanced risk. It is usually a pretty big deal when the Garden State gets put under a slight risk. So the fact that the SPC is calling for an Enhanced Risk of severe storms for parts of Southern Jersey is a really big deal.
According to the Day Two Outlook from the SPC, the area under the enhanced risk of severe weather include: Eastern Virginia, Northeast North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey. Meanwhile, areas from Georgia into the Mid-Atlantic including the rest of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are under a slight risk. Conditions that could occur in all of these areas include: Damaging straight line winds, a few tornadoes, and severe hail. There also could be a great deal of rainfall.
The cause of all of this is a negatively titled shortwave that is currently moving through the Ohio Valley and helping to cause trouble in the Appalachians and Ohio River Region, which is presently under an enhanced risk by the SPC for Saturday. The shortwave will push east and help intensify a low pressure system coming out of Eastern Canada and provide a temperature and moisture contrast with the relatively warm and humid air in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic to make things just enough unstable for severe weather in parts of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. Areas further north will get more isolated severe weather.
Looking at a recent forecast discussion and analysis from Garden State Weather, rainfall amounts could range from anywhere from a half inch or so in Atlantic City to close to over an inch and a half in Western Jersey near the Delaware River Valley. The rainfall could be a huge help though since despite the good amount of rain in May, there are many parts of the state that are still well below normal for this time of year. Middlesex County as a whole is averaging about 17.0 inches of rain so far this year, which is about an inch and a half below what it should be.
Other counties are much further below normal such as Monmouth, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, Morris, and Sussex, which all range from 2.5 to 4 inches below normal. Many of these places of key reservoirs such as Round Valley and Spruce Run in Hunterdon County or Manasquan Reservoir in Monmouth County. More urban counties such as Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Union and Hudson are also running several inches below normal for this time of year. All of this is in spite of the massive blizzard that took place toward the end of January.
So, try to enjoy the weekend, which could be rough at times, but on Sunday, keep an eye to the sky and watch for changing weather conditions, and stay tuned to local media and your NWS web site and social media pages for further developments with this potentially dangerous situation.
2nd Named Storm of the 2016 Season Washes Away Beach Day for Many
The official start of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season is still a couple of days away, and already we have two named storms on the board. Alex formed in January as a rare out of season storm, and over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Bonnie emerged off the Southeastern coast of the United States as the second storm of the season.
Bonnie became a depression on Friday afternoon some 435 miles to the Southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. The emergence came after almost a full work week of speculation that something would emerge in the Western Atlantic. A disturbance spun up in the Bahamas earlier in the week, and the models were indicating that it would eventually come ashore as a tropical cyclone of some kind.
Despite the less than optimal conditions that are commonplace this time of year, the depression battled its way to become Tropical Storm Bonnie within 24 hours on late Saturday afternoon. Within six hours, Bonnie strengthened a bit more to have maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (mph). The storm peaked at that point, and weakened back to a depression just before landfall at 8:45 AM EDT on Sunday morning.
The downgraded system came ashore to the east of Charleston, South Carolina in the Isle of Palms. Winds at that time were 35 mph with gusts up to 40 mph while the barometric pressure rose to 1009 millibars or 29.80 inches of Hg. Although it weakened, the depression still packed a wallop with torrential rains for much of South Carolina, and then it moved up toward the north and spread its rains into North Carolina and Virginia.
As the storm moved northward, it created instability throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic where potent showers and thunderstorms dumped heavy rains on places such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. At Greg’s Weather Center in South Plainfield, New Jersey, there was 0.82 inches of rain during the overnight hours of Memorial Day. Much of the precipitation from Bonnie still laid to the south of GWC.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie is currently joining forces with a cold front pushing in from the west. Currently the front is producing heavy showers and thunderstorms in portions of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Northwestern New Jersey. Bands of showers lay to the south and east over coastal and Southern New Jersey thanks to the Northeast track of what’s left of Bonnie. All of this created unstable conditions throughout the holiday, and opened the possibility for severe weather here in the Garden State.
Earlier in the day on Monday, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma put portions of the Northeast under a marginal risk for severe weather. The area included a slice of Northwestern New Jersey. Things should clear out for the start of the work week with cooler temperatures after a four day heat wave dominated the holiday weekend in New Jersey.
Four Straight Days of 90 Plus Degree Heat Signals Torrid Summer Ahead
The heat and humidity has returned to the Garden State with a vengeance in 2016. After three years of relatively cooler temperatures during the summer months, New Jersey was treated to a preview of what could be a torrid summer ahead with a heat spell that saw temperatures climb to 90 degrees and above for four consecutive days.
The peak was on Saturday when the Mercury climbed to 93 degrees at GWC in South Plainfield, the second warmest temperature during the month of May in the last five years. The warmest day in May recorded at GWC since 2011 occurred in 2013 when the thermometer rocketed up to 93.5 degrees. The heat started to become a factor last Wednesday, when the high temperature reached 88 degrees at GWC.
Then, on both Thursday and Friday, the mercury hit 91 degrees. Add to that heat indices that we well up into the upper 90s and over 100, and conditions felt much like that on the Fourth of July holiday weekend rather than Memorial Day Weekend. After Saturday’s high of 93 degrees with a heat index of 104, things cooled a bit on Sunday with the high temperature only getting up to 90 at GWC.
With the landfall of Tropical Depression Bonnie along the South Carolina coast Saturday night into early Sunday, and an approaching cold front, the heat wave will be snapped on Monday. Temperatures at GWC have only gotten up into the low 80s with the sun battling clouds all day today. The heat index was as high as 86 during the afternoon while the dew point climbed up to 72. So, although conditions cleared out after the overnight rain, there is still plenty of moisture around.
Speaking of moisture, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has put portions of New Jersey as well as parts of New York and New England under a marginal risk for severe weather today. With moisture from the remnants of Bonnie still to the south and a cold front approaching from the west, the ingredients are still there for some active weather this afternoon. Conditions have been very muggy all day with dew points in the lower 70s, and with the sun coming out in the early afternoon, there’s plenty of fuel being added to the fire.
Overnight, there were some heavy showers and thunderstorms that moved through portions of Central Jersey including Middlesex County. The rain gauge at GWC reported 0.82 inches of rain, which is the highest total for one day of rainfall so far this month. With the overnight rain, GWC has now tallied 3.40 inches of rain, which is the most rainfall since May 2012 when there was 3.56 inches. Three years ago, there was 3.26 inches at GWC. The combination of the recent heatwave, and the significant rainfall this month could be signals of a above normal summer in both temperature and rainfall.
With the decline of the most recent episode of the El Niño and the beginning of a new La Niña, we could be seeing the beginning stages of what could be a very hot summer with a lot of rain. Back in 2011 and 2012, conditions were well above normal in terms of temperature and rainfall here at GWC in South Plainfield, and those years were during La Niña episodes.
Storm Forecast to Dump Over an Inch of Rain on Saturday
Earlier this week, we discussed how recent rains helped slow down the dry weather that had dominated much of the first third of 2016. Since May 1st, Greg’s Weather Center has received 1.84 inches of rain for a year to date total of 11.49 inches. About a third of of May’s monthly rainfall came in one day. On the way though is a storm that will bring a good deal more than that.
A coastal low has been gaining steam over the last 24 to 36 hours, and it is forecast to move through the Mid-Atlantic including the Garden State starting on Saturday afternoon. It is expected to not only cause a big mess at the 2016 Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, but also bring between an inch to an inch and a half to the NYC metro area. Heavy rain is expected to produce a very sloppy field for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
At the beginning of the week, the forecast models indicated that the storm was going to move through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The forecast held until Thursday when some of the models showed some doubt by indicating that the low would stay further to the south, and only bring heavy rainfall to South Jersey. Prospects changed on Friday when the models went back to their earlier prognostication, and brought the storm further north through New Jersey, NYC metro, and Long Island.
As of right now (1:49 PM EDT on Saturday afternoon, May 21st), skies are just overcast. No rain has fallen yet. Temperature has been steady for the past couple hours at 63 degrees. Humidity is at 58 percent for a dew point of 47. Barometer has been falling sharply at 30.02 inches of Hg. Winds are light. However, expect those conditions to change as the low pushes toward our region. The NWS Mount Holly office indicates the heaviest rain will fall between 2:00 and 5:00 PM this afternoon. Rainfall amounts during that time could be as high as six tenths of an inch.
The rain could linger around in the form of showers for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as well. The sun may not make a comeback until mid-week with temperatures climbing into the low 80s by Wednesday and Thursday.
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