Another Powerful October Storm to Worry About
Over the last week, I have been watching developments in the Tropical Atlantic with interest as Matthew grew into a threat for the East Coast of the United States although I hadn’t blogged about it until now.
For the second year in a row, and for the third time in five years, we have a hurricane that is menacing the Caribbean, Bahamas, and the East Coast of the United States. Once again, a hurricane spins up amidst a fall like circulation pattern in the Western Atlantic.
Four years ago, it was Hurricane Sandy, which many in New Jersey are still trying to recover from today. Last year, it was Hurricane Joaquin, which combined with another area of low pressure to produce gusty winds and heavy rains as far north as New Jersey.
This year, it is Hurricane Matthew. At one time, Matthew was a Category Five Hurricane with winds near 160 mph. Matthew was the first Category Five Hurricane in the Atlantic in 9 years. The last one was Hurricane Dean, which made landfall in the Mayan Riviera section of Mexico in August 2007. Dean was ranked as a Top Ten Atlantic storm in terms of intensity at the time.
Matthew’s path has so far been a bit eerily similar to Hurricane Sandy. However, Matthew has been much stronger with Sandy only being a Category Three storm with 125 mph winds at peak strength. The hurricane developed much earlier in the season than Sandy did. Matthew also was the first hurricane to make landfall in Haiti since 1963. Nevertheless, both storms impacted portions of Cuba.
Ok. Enough of the history and comparisons. Matthew had been interacting with the rugged mountains of Cuba and Hispaniola, which go as high as 7,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. The interaction tore up Matthew significantly despite the fact that it also produced torrential rains on those islands. Wind speeds dropped from 145 to 115 miles per hour in about 24 hours. Now, the storm is back over water near the Bahamas, where sea surface temperatures run about 86 degrees, and Matthew has already responded to that with some strengthening.
As of 11:00 AM on Wednesday morning, sustained winds with Matthew increased to 120 miles per hour, and it may not be done yet. Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground indicated earlier that the storm is getting better organized. The NHC’s official intensity forecast indicates that Matthew could become a Category Four Hurricane again with 130 mph winds. So, the storm is likely skirt the East Coast of Florida on Friday at major hurricane strength.
The storm will then continue to hug the coast along Georgia and South Carolina, and weaken to a Category Two storm with between 100 and 110 mph winds due to a hostile upper level wind environment. Then, things get crazy. The major forecast models: GFS, European, and UKMET are all indicating that Matthew will turn to the east into the Atlantic, and then turn south and towards the Bahamas and Florida again early next week.
Why is that you ask? First, the trough that was much hyped earlier this week, didn’t pan out since it wasn’t as strong or digged as deep as expected. So, there is nothing to pick up the storm. Hence, Matthew is in a situation much like the cutoff low that affected New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic over the past week. It has nothing to kick it out. There is also a new player in this game: Tropical Storm Nicole.
Nicole is a newly formed tropical system that became a tropical cyclone over the past 24 to 36 hours. The storm is close by in the Western Atlantic, and its circulation is also influencing Matthew’s movement. The combination with the trough that wasn’t and Nicole’s development now brings a bizarre scenario that shows Matthew possibly entering the Florida Straits next week.
This is all good news for now in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which are now looking at great weather through this weekend. Tropical storms and hurricanes are very fickle though, and things can change so all New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic residents reading this should continue to monitor the progress of this storm.
NHC Issues Final Advisory for Troublesome Storm
The long odyssey is over for New Jersey residents as well as others living in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. As of 2:00 PM EDT this afternoon, the last advisory on Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine was issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. All Tropical Storm and Coastal Warnings were discontinued.
Hermine still has some remnants stirring up some clouds, breezy conditions, and a little rain. I had just stepped outside about a half an hour ago to go for a walk around the neighborhood. I would say it was breezier tonight than it even was on Saturday when Hermine’s outer fringes were moving into New Jersey.
The barometric pressure dropped to 29.91 inches of Hg earlier today. So, over the last 36 hours or so, the barometer had dropped 0.30 inches, or about 10 millibars. The humidity has also continued to rise with it climbing to 68 percent for a dew point of 67 degrees. Winds actually gusted to 35 miles per hour today.
There are some bands of rain around the region. Rain is currently falling at Yankee Stadium as the Yanks are playing the Blue Jays. There is another band of showers developing over Central and Southern New Jersey from about New Brunswick to Ocean County. There is a 20 percent chance of rain on Wednesday morning.
As of this afternoon, Hermine was located some 120 miles south of the Eastern tip of Long Island, and moving to the West at 7 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were at 50 miles per hour with gusts up to 65 miles per hour. Barometer was back up to 999 millibars, or 29.50 inches of Hg. Tropical storm force winds extended some 115 miles from the center.
What is left of Hermine is expected to turn to the Northeast on Wednesday, and gradually weaken. The storm is expected to drop below tropical storm strength over the next couple days. Hermine will be remembered though as the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in 11 years.
This is a weather journal put together by Greg’s Weather Center to track the developments with Tropical Storm Hermine as it approaches and impacts the Mid-Atlantic including New Jersey over the Labor Day Weekend of 2016.
September 3, 2016
6:55 AM–Just woke up. Took a look outside and found that skies are partly cloudy. Some clouds including some cirrus and perhaps some altostratus coming in from the south. Possibly from Hermine. Light winds right now.
7:45 AM–Skies are now mostly overcast with altostratus clouds. Still have light winds. Temperature is 66 degrees. Humidity is 85 percent for a dew point of 61. Fairly comfortable outside. Light winds. Believe it or not , the barometric pressure is actually rising at 30.13 inches of Hg (Mercury).
9:44 AM–Just returned from going for a morning walk. Already seeing high cirrus clouds and some altostratus clouds that give the sky a milky gray look. There is still some sunshine. Nice breeze going outside as well. Joe Cioffi mentioned that the storm has taken on more of a look of an extra tropical system with the classic comma shaped signature on the satellite imagery. Seeing some rain bands coming further north than expected on the radar. Currently at GWC, the temperature is 70 degrees with the humidity at 81 percent for a dew point of 64. Heat index is 71 while the barometer is now steady at 30.13 inches of Hg.
1:22 PM–Just returned from going to the bank, grocery store, South Amboy’s Waterfront Park, and the gas station. Clouds continue to build in from the south. At South Amboy’s Waterfront Park, there was a good northeasterly to easterly fetch off of Raritan Bay. Had some altostratus clouds and some stratocumulus clouds building in. Back here at GWC in South Plainfield, there are some patches of blue sky around along with the occasional sun coming out. Do see altostratus and stratocumulus here as well. Temperature at GWC is now up to 73 degrees with the humidity at 63 percent for a dew point of 60. Barometer remains steady at 30.14 inches of Hg (Mercury). Light breeze continues.
2:25 PM–National Hurricane Center has now issued a Tropical Storm Warning for all of the Jersey Shore, New York City, Long Island, Long Island Sound including Southern Connecticut, and Rhode Island from Watch Hill westward. Taking a look outside, the sun is out, and it looks like things have cleared up somewhat. There are still some cirrus clouds and some cumulus clouds out, but there is quite a bit of blue sky, especially to the north. However, clouds remain to the south. I started a time lapse video at about 12:45 PM, which will go until about sunset. Temperature at GWC is at 75 degrees with the humidity at 59 percent for a dew point of 60 degrees and a heat index of 76. Barometer is starting to fall at 30.13 inches of Hg (Mercury).
3:34 PM–Took another look outside. Skies are blue with plenty of sun. Almost like an early fall day. However, there are some cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds overhead at GWC with some cumulus to the north. Off to the south, skies are more overcast. Temperature is still at 75 degrees. Humidity at 53 percent for a dew point of 57 for a heat index of 76. Barometer is still falling a little at 30.12 inches of Hg.
6:10 PM–Took another look outside. Skies are mostly clear. There are some cirrocumulus and cumulus clouds about, but there is a good deal of blue sky and some setting sun. Still have a little bit of a breeze out of the WNW. Temperature is down to 73 degrees. Humidity at 58 percent for a dew point of 57 degrees. Barometer steady at 30.10 inches of Hg (Mercury).
September 4, 2016
3:24 AM–Woke up about an hour ago after sleeping for around 6 hours. Stepped outside for a bit. Conditions are calm. Skies are mostly clear. Could see the stars. Not even much of a breeze like there was during the day on Saturday. Temperature at GWC is at 60 degrees with 92 percent humidity for a dew point of 58. Winds are calm. Barometer steady at 30.14 inches of Hg. Pressure actually rose 0.04 inches in the last 7 hours.
5:03 AM–Checked the GWC WX Station. Temperature is up to 62 degrees with the humidity at 84 percent for a dew point of 58. Winds are calm. Pressure up a couple more hundredths of an inch to 30.16 inches of Hg (Mercury).
7:05 AM–Just stepped outside for a little bit. Sun has come up, and the skies are mostly clear with the exception of some cirrocumulus clouds. Winds are calm. Temperature is at 61 degrees. Humidity is at 84 percent for a dew point of 57 degrees. Barometric pressure continues to rise at 30.19 inches of Hg.
8:30 AM–At Waterfront Park along Raritan Bay in South Amboy. Much more tranquil here than yesterday. Winds not as strong. Still have an easterly fetch, but water levels not as high.
9:50 AM–Leaving Keyport’s Waterfront Park and the winds are stronger now than earlier. Water levels have risen a little too.
10:22 AM–Leaving Fireman’s Park in Union Beach. Winds continue to pick up and the wave action here is much more significant. Was told by a lady from this area that one of the creeks is about to go over. Spray is coming over the top and there is some overwash on the walkway.
11:05 AM–About to depart Bayshore Waterfront Park in Port Monmouth. Still have some cirrocumulus clouds with slightly stronger winds. Waves and water levels higher here. Waves were coming up pretty high on the fishing pier.
11:46 AM–About to leave Sandy Hook. Winds were lighter here, but the wave action and surf were more significant. More cirrocumulus and small cumulus clouds to south and east. Larger waves with shorter periods. Very heavy surf. Nobody in the water. Swimming not allowed today.
1:18 PM–Just returned from my trip down the Northern Jersey Shore. Have a little bit more of a breeze outside in the yard. Could see cirrocumulus clouds off to the south. Temperature at GWC is at 77 degrees. Humidity is low at 45 percent for a dew point of 54. Barometric pressure is up to 30.21 inches of Hg, but steady.
4:03 PM–Went out into the yard to checkup on the time lapse video running. Not too much to worry about. Very light wind. Some cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds off to the south. Temperature is up to 80 degrees. Humidity has dropped to 40 percent for a dew point of 53. Barometer is falling though to 30.17 inches of Hg.
5:57 PM–Leaving South Amboy’s Waterfront Park after taking a trip there following a workout at Edison Park behind Middlesex County College. Conditions at Edison Park was sunny with cirrocumulus clouds off to the south and east. It also was quite breezy. At South Amboy, I had just arrived after low tide so the wave action wasn’t bad at all. Winds had also slackened. Had some cirrus clouds overhead and cirrocumulus clouds to the south and east.
8:16 PM–Checked the data on the GWC WX Station. Temperature is at 69 degrees with the humidity at 73 percent for a dew point of 61 degrees. Barometer is rising at 30.19 inches of Hg. Winds are calm.
September 5, 2016
2:40 AM–Just took a look at the radar courtesy of the Weather Channel. Shower and thunderstorm activity has picked up with Hermine. Coastal Flood Warning in effect now. Tropical Storm Warning is cancelled.
8:12 AM–Took a step outside. Skies are mostly overcast, especially to the south of GWC. Winds are calm. Temperature is 61 degrees with the humidity at 90 percent for a dew point of 58. Barometer is still high at 30.21 inches of Hg, but steady.
9:10 AM–Went outside into the backyard. Saw some cirrus clouds off to the north and altostratus clouds to the south and east. Temperature is at 65 degrees with the humidity down to 75 percent for a dew point of 57. Barometer is now rising at 30.20 inches of Hg. Winds are calm.
10:51 AM–Leaving South Amboy’s Waterfront Park. High tide approaching, but the water was more tranquil than it was on Saturday despite the increase in clouds. Still have a northeasterly fetch, but it is not as strong.
11:33 AM– Returned home. Skies are more overcast. Light winds. Temperature up to 72 degrees. Humidity at 64 percent for a dew point of 59. Barometer falling at 30.17 inches.
4:27 PM–Just took a step outside. Skies are mostly sunny, but there are some cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds around. Has also become quite breezy out. Temperature up to 83, but the moisture is on the increase and the barometer is falling. Humidity at 48 percent for a dew point of 61 while the barometric pressure is down to 30.01 inches of Hg, and falling sharply.
6:23 PM–Stepped outside briefly. Went into the backyard. Cirrus clouds overhead. A little more humid. Temperature actually went up to 84 degrees. Humidity up to 50 percent for a dew point of 62. Winds are light. Barometer still falling at 29.99 inches of Hg.
7:40 PM–Just returned from going for a walk outside. Definitely feeling more humid. A lot more cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds, especially off to the south and east. Not as much of a breeze now. Temperature at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ is down to 80 degrees. Humidity up to 58 percent for a dew point of 64 now. Winds are calm, but the barometer continues to fall at 29.98 inches of Hg (Mercury).
September 6, 2016
7:05 AM–Heading to work. Skies are mostly cloudy. Still feeling some of the effects from Hermine. Temperature is 72 degrees.
10:30 AM–Taking my first break at work. Took a walk around the building. A little humid and breezy with some blue sky, cirrocumulus, altostratus, and stratocumulus clouds.
7:00 PM–Leaving work. A bit muggy outside. Lots of clouds. Stratus and stratocumulus clouds.
9:08 PM–Arrived home about an hour ago. No rain has fallen although I heard on the radio that we could be getting some rain from the remnants of Hermine. Temperature is 78 degrees. Humidity is at 68 percent. Dew point is at 67 degrees. Winds are calm. Barometer is steady at 29.95 inches of Hg. No rain is falling yet.
9:56 PM–Just returned from an evening walk. Quite breezy outside. I would say that it is more breezy tonight than it was on Saturday morning when Hermine was heading up the coast. Felt a couple of rain drops, but no significant rain falling yet. NHC issued last advisory on Hermine earlier this evening.
Storm Heading West-Northwest
During the course of the past 24 hours, especially the last 6 to 12 hours, the barometer at GWC has been falling. Humidity has also been on the rise, and there has been some breezy conditions at times here in South Plainfield, NJ. Believe it or not, all of this is due to Hermine, which has been finally making that anticipated westward move during the day on Monday.
Prior to taking a trip out to Waterfront Park in South Amboy this morning, the barometric pressure at GWC was at 30.21 inches (8:21 AM EDT). Since then, the barometer has dropped 0.23 inches to 29.98 inches of Hg. Pressure is still quite high. Weak Tropical Depressions usually have minimum central pressures of 29.80 or 29.83 inches of Hg.
Meanwhile, the humidity on Sunday had dropped significantly as the storm pulled further and further to the east. On Sunday afternoon, the humidity dipped to 40 percent for a dew point of 53. Since that time, the moisture has been on the rise, climbing to 58 percent for a dew point of 64. Temperature reached a high of 84 degrees late Monday afternoon.
Over the past few hours, the satellite imagery has shown Hermine making a more westward move. In addition, the more thicker band of clouds are pinwheeling westward across Long Island toward New York City and the Jersey Shore. More cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds have developed overhead of GWC during the course of the afternoon. Nevertheless, skies remained sunny at sunset.
The Coastal Flood Warning that existed along the Jersey Shore on Monday has been discontinued, but there are still areas in coastal Monmouth and Ocean counties that are dealing with heavy surf and rip currents. Tropical Storm Warnings remain in effect for the coastal waters offshore. Currently, Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine is inching closer to the Eastern tip of Long Island.
Located some 150 miles Southeast of the Eastern tip of Long Island, Hermine has also picked up some forward speed as it moves to the West-Northwest at 9 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds remain at 70 miles per hour with gusts up to 85 miles per hour. Barometric pressure remains steady at 997 millibars, or 29.44 inches of Hg. Tropical storm force winds continue to extend some 230 miles from the center. Weakening is forecast to begin tonight.
Although sea surface temperatures off the Jersey Shore and Long Island have been above normal this summer, they remain in the mid to upper 70s, which is still below the threshold for supporting tropical development. Water temperatures need to be at least 80 degrees or higher to support tropical storm or hurricane formation and growth. Furthermore, since Hermine has been basically sitting in the same general location for the past several days, upwelling has taken place, which brings cooler water to the surface.
The National Hurricane Center’s intensity forecast calls for Hermine to start gradually weakening over the next 12 hours, and fall below tropical storm strength between 48 and 72 hours before dissipating in four days. The NHC’s forecast track is calling for Hermine to continue its westward jog for the next 36 hours or so before turning to the Northeast and accelerating on Wednesday.
Disturbance Struggling to Develop As Forecast
Despite most of the focus in the Tropical Atlantic being on Hermine, there is still another disturbance in the basin that is being watched. Invest 92L, which formed over the weekend, remains disorganized, and will likely not develop for most of this week according to the National Hurricane Center.
Although the disturbance has tropical storm force winds associated with it, the shower and thunderstorm activity associated with it is still disorganized. The tropical wave continues to battle dry air and upper level winds. Nevertheless, Invest 92L, which is currently located in the Eastern Caribbean, is still expected to produce heavy rainfall and gusty winds over portions of the Lesser Antilles on Monday.
Then, the disturbance is expected to move toward Puerto Rico and Hispaniola on Tuesday. Upper level dynamics could become a bit more favorable towards development later in the week as the wave approaches the Yucatan Peninsula. Currently, the odds of tropical formation within the next 48 hours are nil while development is only 20 percent possible over the next five days.
Tropical Storm Warnings Discontinued for the Garden State
Hermine continued to move further to the east on Sunday and while the surf along New Jersey beaches remained treacherous, the more significant threat of tropical storm force winds and rain diminished. The Tropical Storm Warning for the Jersey Shore was discontinued on Sunday night, but a Coastal Flood Warning remained in effect.
On Sunday afternoon, GWC and Hurricaneville took another trip down to South Amboy’s Waterfront Park along Raritan Bay to check conditions there. We arrived there just after low tide and the easterly fetch wasn’t as significant as it was in the morning or on Saturday. Winds had also eased up somewhat. Skies were sunny with the exception of cirrus clouds overhead and cirrocumulus clouds to the south and east.
During the evening and overnight hours, Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine strengthened somewhat with shower and thunderstorm activity increasing. The storm also moved a little bit more to the west on radar. These thunderstorms were far away from the Jersey Shore though. Nevertheless, there are more clouds over GWC in South Plainfield on this Labor Day morning.
Cirrus clouds could be seen to the north and west of GWC while altostratus clouds developed to the south and east. The radar imagery courtesy of the Weather Channel showed some clouds spreading over the Garden State while bands of showers and storms are still holding together further to the east over the open waters of the Atlantic and to the north and west to the center of circulation.
Looking at the latest with Hermine, the storm is currently located some 295 miles to the Southeast of the Eastern tip of Long Island. Maximum sustained winds remain at 70 miles per hour with gusts in upwards of 85 miles per hour. Minimum central pressure has dropped slightly to 997 millibars, or about 29.44 inches of Hg (Mercury). Tropical storm force winds extend some 230 miles from the center as Hermine grew in size over the past 24 hours.
Hermine is expected to continue to meander slowly off the Mid-Atlantic coast for the next couple days. The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center indicates that the storm will make its closest approach to the Jersey Shore on Tuesday before turning more northward and northeastward on Wednesday and heading out to the vicinity of the Canadian Maritimes on Thursday and Friday. Hermine will begin to gradually weaken over the next 24 hours, and is forecast to dissipate in five days.
Change in Storm Path Leaves Only Coastal Areas With Any Impacts
This morning, Greg’s Weather Center and Hurricaneville took a trip out to several locations along the Northern portion of the Jersey Shore. From South Amboy and Laurence Harbor in Middlesex County to Cliffwood Beach down to Sandy Hook in Monmouth County, we checked both the weather and surf conditions from Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine offshore.
Prior to leaving though, we noticed that the barometric pressure was running quite high at 30.19 inches of Hg (Mercury), and still rising. With such high pressure, one could only surmise that good weather was on tap. News reports indicated that Hermine had gone further east than expected, which took much of the clouds, wind, and waves away from the shoreline.
Sky conditions at all the locations we visited on this Sunday morning where mostly sunny with some cirrocumulus clouds. It was hard to believe that a powerful storm was just a few hundred miles offshore. Only when we got down to Keyport’s Waterfront Park did we begin to notice that the winds had picked up a bit. Further down the Bayshore in Union Beach, the water levels increased and the wave action picked up a bit.
Spray and some sea water was coming over the barrier at Union Beach to create some overwash on the walkway near Fireman’s Park. Talking to some of the people there, we learned that one of the creeks was beginning to fill up from the increased surf and wakes piling up. Waves crashed along the pier at Bayshore Waterfront Park in Port Monmouth as well. The most significant wave action would be at Sandy Hook, where nobody was allowed to go in the water.
The waves were large, numerous, and frequent, which turned the ocean into a more foamy grey color. Winds were actually lighter at Sandy Hook, but the surf was still rough. Clouds were also on the increase with more cirrocumulus clouds along with some small cumulus clouds. There are some photos and video from some of the heavy surf along the coast during our trip on the GWC and Hurricaneville Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Returning to GWC in South Plainfield, we noticed that the light winds returned, but the barometric pressure was still high at 30.20 inches of Hg, and the humidity levels were considerably lower. The dew point was only in the mid 50s. So, the combination of rising pressure and falling humidity only signified that the storm was pulling away from New Jersey. Nevertheless, the post-tropical cyclone is expected to make a turn back toward the coast, but it won’t get as close as previously forecast.
The Jersey Shore will be were most if not all of the action from this storm will be. The main threat will be the coastal flooding from the significant wave action and heavy surf, especially during high tide on Sunday night and Monday morning. Tides are expected to between 3 and 5 feet above normal from Sandy Hook to Cape May. There will be some winds up to tropical storm force along with a little bit of rain according to Meteorologist Joe Cioffi.
Currently, Post-Tropical Storm Hermine remains offshore about 300 miles to the South-Southeast of the Eastern tip of Long Island, or about 325 miles to the East-Southeast of Ocean City, Maryland. The storm is now moving slowly to the East-Northeast at 6 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds have now increased again to 70 miles per hour with gusts up to 85 miles per hour. Minimum central pressure with Hermine has risen slightly to 999 millibars, or 29.50 inches of Hg (Mercury).
A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect from Cape Charles Light, Virginia on the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula to just west of Watch Hill, Rhode Island including Delaware Bay. A Tropical Storm Watch continues to be in effect from Watch Hill, Rhode Island eastward to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts including Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Know your watches and warnings. Coastal residents in these warned areas should be prepared for dangerous storm surge.
As mentioned earlier in this post, Hermine tracked further to the east so everything has shifted over somewhat in terms of the forecast track. Hermine is expected to move more to the north over the next 24 to 36 hours, and then turn towards the east again. However, Hermine is still expected to be several hundred miles off the coast of Eastern Long Island and Southern New England on Wednesday morning. Hermine’s strength during the next five days is expected to peak at 75 miles per hour within the next 36 to 48 hours.
Models Having Tough Time With Storm Now That It Is Non-Tropical
Greg’s Weather Center and Hurricaneville continue to watch what is now Non-Tropical Cyclone Hermine as it meanders off the Mid-Atlantic coast less than 250 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey. All of the coastal counties in New Jersey remain under a Tropical Storm Warning and could still see significant coastal flooding from this storm.
Currently, Post-Tropical Storm Hermine is located some 240 miles to the East-Southeast of Ocean City, Maryland, or about 275 miles East of Norfolk, Virginia so the center of circulation is still to the south of New Jersey. The storm is still moving pretty good to the East-Northeast at 13 miles per hour, but expect that motion to slow down during the day on Sunday as it begins to loop back toward the coast. Maximum sustained winds have decreased slightly to 65 miles per hour with gusts over hurricane force. Pressure is at 998 millibars or 29.47 inches of Hg.
A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the East Coast of the United States from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina including Chesapeake Bay from Drum Point southward and also Delaware Bay. A Tropical Storm Watch also remains in effect from east of Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Middlesex County, New Jersey, the home of GWC and Hurricaneville is under a Tropical Storm Warning.
There has been a lot of variability or differences in the forecast model tracks for Hermine. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that Hermine is now a non-tropical system. You may wonder what does that mean. Well, what it means is that the storm is now a cold core system with cold air at the center of the low. Cold core lows are basically what we all see during the fall and winter months, i.e. Coastal lows or Nor’easters.
If you recall earlier last weekend and earlier this week, the models struggled with the track and intensity of what eventually became Hermine because they tend to have problems with developing systems. They also have similar issues with storms that transition from tropical to non-tropical systems. So, in a nutshell, the models are all over the place when it comes to Hermine’s track , and what type of storm it will be over the next few days.
One good thing that has happened with Hermine during the late afternoon and evening hours is that the storm went a little further to the east than expected, and that is good news for those further inland. Hermine is expected to loop back to the west, but because it jogged a bit more to the east, it is unlikely at this point that the storm will come ashore along the Jersey coast. However, let’s not let our guard down, and be prepared for anything since again the models are struggling with this system.
According to Meteorologist Joe Cioffi, the coastal areas are still going to receive the brunt of the impacts from the storm. Most significant impact will be coastal flooding. The National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly indicates that anywhere in New Jersey east of the Garden State Parkway will see significant coastal flooding from a storm surge anywhere from 3 to 5 feet above normal. In addition, as the storm makes its closest approach to New Jersey on Sunday evening into Labor Day morning there will be an increase in rain and wind.
Rainfall amounts along the coast will be anywhere between one to two inches east of the I-95 corridor with winds increasing to tropical storm force by Sunday afternoon. Some isolated areas could see as much as 2 to 3 inches according to the NWS. The greatest threat for all of this seems to be more confined to the further south that you go along the Jersey Shore toward Atlantic City and Cape May into Delaware. However, we could see tropical storm force winds as far north as coastal areas in Middlesex County such as South Amboy and Old Bridge.
On Saturday, I was out at South Amboy’s Waterfront Park along Raritan Bay, and there was a very good easterly to northeasterly fetch off the ocean. Water levels were higher than usual, and it wasn’t even high tide yet. Winds were much stronger too. Here at GWC in South Plainfield, there was more of a breeze, but not as significant as it was near the water in South Amboy. Again all of this is due to the fact that Hermine is a good ways from the coast right now.
Remember, Hermine is still a very large and vast system with tropical storm force winds extending some 205 miles from the center. The storm’s size is more along the lines of Hurricane Irene (2011) as supposed to Hurricane Sandy (2012). Like Irene and Sandy, the large circulation of Hermine will push a good deal of water toward the coast and bring significant wind and rain to areas far away from the center.
All residents along the coast from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Cape Cod, Massachusetts need to pay close attention to the whereabouts of this system since the models are giving different possibilities with this system. Do not let your guard down. The most recent forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center did indicate that Hermine could re-intensify to have hurricane force winds sustained over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Upper Level Conditions Will Make Things Difficult For Now
On this early Sunday morning, our primary focus is on Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine, which is expected to meander off the Mid-Atlantic coast through Labor Day, and perhaps into the middle of next week. However, we do have another tropical entity, Invest 92L, that may be a threat in the coming days.
Presently, the disturbance is located about 250 miles to the east of the Lesser Antilles, and it has a good deal of shower and thunderstorm activity associated with it along with winds up to tropical storm force. However, upper level atmospheric conditions are going to make things difficult for the disturbance to develop any further for at least the next five days.
The disturbance is also moving at a pretty fast pace between 15 and 20 miles per hour. Currently, the forecast track models have Invest 92L going through the Windward islands into the Central Caribbean, but the actual forecast track is a bit to the north of that and curving more northward with time toward Puerto RIco, Florida, and the East Coast of the United States.
Chances for development with this disturbance within the next 48 hours are currently low at 20 percent, and only at 30 percent over the next five days. There is plenty of time to worry about this feature. However, we need to keep in mind that we are in the heart of hurricane season with the statistical peak taking place on September 10th. So, we will need to eventually keep an eye on this.
Last Advisory Issued Early Saturday Morning
While the focus shifted completely over to the more immediate threat of now Post-Tropical Storm Hermine, Gaston was wrapping up in the Northeastern Atlantic. Early Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center issued its final advisory on the storm system. The post-tropical cyclone was beginning to pull away from the Azores.
As of the last advisory from the NHC at 5:00 AM AST (EDT) on Saturday morning, Gaston was located some 160 miles to the Northeast of Faial Island in the Central Azores or about 120 miles due north of Lajes Air Base in the Azores. Maximum sustained winds were down to depression strength at 35 miles per hour with gusts of minimal tropical storm force.
Post-Tropical Cyclone Gaston was moving briskly to the East-Northeast at 17 miles per hour. Barometric pressure has risen to 1006 millibars or 29.71 inches of Hg (Mercury). While the storm has weakened, the once major hurricane is still generating swells that are producing heavy surf and dangerous rip currents through parts of the Azores on Saturday.
Further weakening is likely with Gaston now that it is over cooler waters and encountering hostile atmospheric conditions. The post-cyclone is expected to dissipate on Sunday. Gaston became the first major hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season with maximum sustained winds peaking at 120 miles per hour earlier in the week.
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