Gusty Winds and Brief Heavy Rain on Friday Morning Spark Major Change
After a dry October of only 0.54 inches of rain, and only a handful of days with measurable rainfall, the month of November began with severe weather. A strong cold front associated with a powerful storm system that produced tornadoes in the Plains and severe weather in the Midwest and South, pushed east. The National Weather Service, and many other media outlets were indicating gusty winds and rough weather on Friday as early as a couple days ago.
The predictions came to fruition as the powerful cold front moved into Central Pennsylvania during the early morning hours on Friday. The front became more energized as it pushed eastward. A wind advisory was issued for all of New Jersey until 2:00 PM on Friday afternoon. An hour or so later, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued for Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey including the counties of Warren, Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset and portions of Southern Sussex and Western Mercer until 11:00 AM.
Middlesex County, where the Greg’s Weather Center is located, was put under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch a short time later (around 9:00 AM), and it remained in effect until 12:00 PM. By that time, the temperature had risen to 68 degrees. There wasn’t a lot of rain yet, but a steady trickle of rain since late yesterday morning had totaled 0.18 inches at GWC. The dew point had climbed to 64 degrees in Northwestern Middlesex County. The high on Thursday in South Plainfield reached 63 degrees. The weather was unusually warm and muggy for this time of year.
The front had a well defined and strong squall line associated with it, and it rolled through New Jersey rather quickly. Shortly after 9:00 AM, the squall line had crossed into Western New Jersey, and the NWS office in Mount Holly issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for six counties in Western Jersey until 10:15 AM. This squall line extended the entire length of New Jersey, and even into Northern Delaware. The front and associated squall line moved quickly through the Garden State. By 9:25 AM, the line had reached western Somerset County, and by 9:45 AM, the line was pushing through GWC in Northwestern Middlesex County.
Upon arrival in South Plainfield, the winds became very gusty. Rain briefly came down in sheets and was drifting horizontally and diagonally. Within just a few minutes, approximately two tenths of an inch of rain fell at GWC. Meanwhile, the barometer had fallen to 29.60 inches of Hg, which is equivalent to the pressure at the center of circulation in a minimal tropical storm with 40 to 50 mph winds. By 10:00 AM, the front was pushing into the eastern portion of Middlesex County. The temperature had dropped five degrees within 10 minutes to 63 degrees. The rapid drop in temperature is a harbinger of things to come.
According to the Weather Channel, the front was bringing in very significant changes to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Temperatures are expected to fall throughout the weekend, and by Sunday, the high is expected to be only in the upper 40s. Some of the coldest weather we will only have seen so far this season.
Storm System Responsible for Historic Blizzard and Tornadoes in Plains and Midwest Heads into Eastern U.S.
As indicated in the last Severe Weather Outlook several days ago, some heavy weather is coming this way for Monday afternoon. A powerful cold front associated with a storm system that caused remarkable weather in the Great Plains and Midwest the past several days, is moving into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and it is poised to create quite a stir here in New Jersey.
A few hours ago, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, put the entire Garden State as well as other portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast under a Tornado Watch until 5:00 PM EDT. This storm system is moving into a moist and somewhat unstable air mass over our region. Behind the front, temperatures are much cooler, and more fall like with lower humidity.
The latest radar imagery already indicates showers and storms pushing into Eastern Pennsylvania. So, this heavy weather is just a few hours away. Skies have been variable with a mixture of clouds and sunshine over GWC in South Plainfield with the winds picking up in intensity. After a cloudy day on Sunday that kept temperatures down in the upper 60s, temperatures have already moved up into the low to mid 70s this early afternoon (12:27 PM EDT). Dew point values are also already in the upper 60s to low 70s.
The most significant threat from this line of storms is damaging winds. Anywhere along the front, storms could produce wind gusts as high as 75 miles per hour with the possibility of tornadoes. This storm system has had a very significant history. It was responsible for producing up to 50 inches of snow in portions of the Northern Plains including South Dakota over the weekend while producing only the second October EF4 tornado in Nebraska history on Friday.
Sunday morning, the SPC indicated the likelihood of thunderstorms, but a low probability of severe weather. By Sunday afternoon, the SPC had modified its outlook to include a slight risk for severe weather in the Mid-Atlantic including much of New Jersey. Then, early Monday morning, a Tornado Watch had been issued. Earlier discussions from the SPC had indicated there would be plenty of warmth and moisture for the cold front to tap into, but there wasn’t any indications of a lot of instability and buoyancy.
The Tornado Watch from the SPC indicates that the buoyancy is still marginal, but there is still plenty of moisture, and even a good deal of shear to work with. The potential for severe weather is expected to increase during the afternoon, and with the sun coming out just a little while ago, there is added energy. The Tornado Watch covers an area just west of Washington D.C., up through Central Pennsylvania, and into Central New York, and then stretches eastward as far as the coastal waters of New Jersey, Delaware, New York City, and up to Albany, New York.
Continue to monitor weather reports from your local news outlets, the National Weather Service, and have a NOAA Weather Radio handy for any updates. If you see threatening weather, get indoors, and find an interior room such as a closest or one with no windows, and has another wall between you and the outside.
Isolated to Scattered Storms Across Jersey Today; More Significant Storm Coming Early Next Week
It is another warm and muggy day for this time of year in South Plainfield. As a matter of fact, high temperatures all across the Garden State are already in the low to mid 80s on this Friday afternoon. Current temperature at GWC is up to 83 degrees with a dew point of 68 for a heat index of 86 degrees. The weather outside feels much like it did during the Labor Day Weekend. A warm and muggy day consistent with the month of August rather than the beginning of October.
As mentioned previously in a blog post earlier this week, we are dealing with a frontal system that is presently lifting to the north over our region. It is expected to remain in place through the weekend. Isolated and scattered thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and evening from Newark to Ridgewood to South Plainfield and Belmar. Probabilities of precipitation are anywhere between 30 and 40 percent. Looking at the current radar, there are showers and storms in Eastern Pennsylvania, but they appear to be fading at the moment.
The more significant weather is situated far off to the south and west of our area, and will not affect us for at least another several days, but when it does, it could be a problem. First, there is Tropical Storm Karen, which has continued weakening during the course of Friday morning into early Friday afternoon. Maximum sustained winds with this system have decreased to 50 miles per hour while the minimum central pressure has risen to 1003 millibars or 29.62 inches. The satellite imagery from the Gulf of Mexico shows a very unhealthy and ragged storm that is being ravaged by westerly shear and dry air.
However, there is still a possibility that the shear will let up, and allow Karen to recoup her recent losses prior to making landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Another player in our weather for early next week is a major storm system bringing significant snows to the Rockies and Northern Plains while hitting the Midwest with a severe weather outbreak. Probability for tornadoes in places like Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin is fairly high on Friday afternoon and evening. What is left of Karen is expected to join forces with this storm system as it pushes across the eastern half of the U.S. later this weekend.
Meanwhile, temperatures are expected to remain in the mid to upper 70s through Monday as the combined storm system approaches from the south and west. The National Weather Service in New York has already issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook that discusses the possibility of this storm system bringing heavy rains to our region. The National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly has not issued such an outlook, but has posted some briefings online and in social media regarding the possibility of heavy rainfall on Monday and Tuesday. Rainfall amounts possible range between 1.5 and 2.5 inches with isolated areas receiving as much as 4 inches.
Stay tuned to your local weather outlets, news, and National Weather Service for further updates on this still developing situation.
Over the past couple days, conditions have been a bit warmer than normal for this time of year, and a tad muggy as well. On Friday, the high temperature reached 78 degrees while the dew point peaked in the low 60s before dropping into the upper 40s. On Saturday morning and early afternoon, those conditions continued with a bit of cloudiness and fog early on too boot. However, there is a change on the way.
A large and powerful cold front extending from Canada through the Eastern Great Lakes down into the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys is pushing eastward, and is expected to bring some heavy rain for a time on Saturday night. The latest NWS forecast indicates anywhere from a half an inch to three quarters of an inch of rainfall for Northwestern Middlesex County as well as the rest of Central Jersey. Further to the north and west in Northeastern Pennsylvania, there is a chance of up to two inches of rain there.
While the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma does concede that there is a risk of some thunderstorms, it adds that the possibility of severe weather is minimal. The reason for that is because there is just not enough instability in the atmosphere to fuel the development of strong to severe thunderstorms. There is a risk of cool air induced waterspouts over the Eastern Great Lakes according to an outlook given by the NWS office in Pittsburgh. So, look for some heavy rain with some gusty winds as well as a few rumbles of thunder for a time this evening.
The timing of the storminess has varied during the day today. This morning, there were indications on some local television outlets that the weather wouldn’t come through until sometime this evening between 8 PM and midnight. Models indicated that it was going to come through later than that. However, as of 7:00 AM this morning, the front was already moving into Western Pennsylvania.
Nevertheless, the result of this approaching front will be a significant change just in time for the first day of fall. The autumnal equinox is set to arrive at 4:00 PM on Sunday, and temperatures and humidity levels will be much cooler and drier by that time. High temperature forecasted for Sunday is expected to be in the low 70s with some lingering showers. Then, highs will only be in the upper 60s on Monday and Tuesday with clear and sunny skies.
Storms Expected to Move in during Late Afternoon to Early Evening around NJ
Good morning. Just came in from outside, and it’s already ugly out there. As of 10:30 AM, the temperature was already at 80 degrees with the dew point at 74 for a heat index of 85. In the last hour or so (as of 11:30 AM), the temperature has only risen a couple of degrees to 82, but the humidity is at 80 percent for a dew point of 75 and a heat index of 88. So, the warm and humid air mass is still in place over the region. There is a change in the making though.
This morning, there were already some isolated to scattered thunderstorms across Western New Jersey and North Central Pennsylvania. The National Weather Service had issued a flood warning around 8:00 AM for portions of Hunterdon County. Last night, there were a total of 7 severe thunderstorm warnings and 4 flash flood warnings across portions of Pennsylvania and upstate New York as the front began to push through that area. Expect our area to be under the gun today.
The National Weather Service just issued a Special Weather Statement at 11:10 AM for Warren, Hunterdon, Morris, and Somerset counties for a broken line of thunderstorms moving through that area at 20 miles per hour. Wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour and frequent cloud to ground lightning have been reported in these cells ranging from Washington in Warren County to Clinton in Hunterdon County and Byram in Morris County. No general severe thunderstorm watch or warning has been issued for any portion of the Garden State just yet, but we are still just getting started.
Currently, outside at GWC in South Plainfield, the skies are hazy with some cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds overhead. Very humid. There was a bit of a breeze when I began my walk this morning, but that has even subsided. Barometric pressure at GWC is on the decline at 29.84 inches of Hg. Winds are calm. This continue to change as I am writing this report. The National Weather Service in Mount Holly just issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Northeastern Hunterdon County, Southern Morris County, and Northern Somerset County.
This specific NWS warning indicated that doppler radar detected a severe thunderstorm near Whitehouse Station in Hunterdon County capable of producing one inch diameter hail, and 60 mile per hour winds. The storm is expected to be in Somerville by 11:45 AM, Far Hills and Martinsville by 11:50 AM, Mendham by 11:55 AM, Millington and Basking Ridge around noon, Morristown by 12:10 PM, and Madison by 12:15 PM. The storm cell is moving to the east at 25 miles per hour. The warning is in effect until 12:30 PM.
Expect more of this as we go through the day today and as the cold front gets closer. Again, right now, we have scattered activity with most of it concentrated across Hunterdon, Morris, and Somerset counties right now. However, according to the most recent surface map by the NWS, the front was still in the Eastern Great Lakes as of 7:18 AM EDT. So, the frontal line is still pretty much to the west of the region. Looking at the latest info from the Storm Prediction Center in there is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms from the Mid-Atlantic including New Jersey northward into New England.
A more closer look at the map by the SPC indicates a line of thunderstorms beginning to push through Western Pennsylvania around Pittsburgh. This means that the heaviest weather is about 6 hours away from our area. So, we should expect the line of storms to move through Central Jersey and the rest of the metro area by around dinner time (between 5:30 and 6:30 PM). This line looks pretty impressive now, but could the isolated storms occurring across Hunterdon, Morris, and Somerset right now county take out some of the energy boiling up in the atmosphere right now? It is possible.
Stay tuned to your local weather on TV, web, and mobile for further updates. The high school football season is kicking off this afternoon with some games starting at 4:00 PM. If your game is starting around that time, you may want to pay close attention to the weather, and get in touch with school officials such as a coach or AD about the status of the game before heading out.
High Humidity Highlights Last Unofficial Weekend of Summer in NJ
After the coolest August in three years in Northwestern Middlesex County as well as the rest of the Central Jersey area and the Tri-State, summer tried to make one last stand for the Labor Day holiday. Whether you were at the Jersey Shore, Lower Manhattan, Yankee Stadium, or at the South Plainfield Labor Day Parade, the warmer and humid weather made it feel like South Florida, or somewhere in the Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana. Temperatures in South Plainfield rose into the mid 80s on both Saturday and Sunday, and when combined with oppressive dew points of 77 degrees on both days, heat indices managed to get up into the low to mid 90s.
Taking in some baseball at Yankee Stadium on both Saturday and Sunday, I battled the heat and humidity. Just walking from the Seastreak ferry service to the stadium had me soaked in sweat by the time I got to my seat. Thankfully, the boat rides back provided some much needed and appreciated air conditioning from mother nature. Back at home in South Plainfield, the high on Saturday was 86 while on Sunday it was 84. Combined with a dew point around 77 degrees on both days, the heat index still managed to top out at 96 on Saturday and 93 on Sunday. On Monday, the temperature was cooler with a high of only 78 thanks to the cloud cover, but the humidity remained with the dew point still reaching uncomfortable levels at 74 degrees.
Despite the heat and humidity as well as threatening skies during the course of the weekend, there hasn’t been much rain here at GWC. So far this holiday weekend, there has only been 0.59 inches with the most occurring on Sunday with 0.41 inches. Thunderstorms moved through during the late afternoon and early evening on Sunday to provide the rainfall. Other areas including portions of Middlesex County received more rain this weekend, especially on Saturday night and Sunday morning. While South Plainfield only had about 0.02 inches during that period, places such as East Brunswick and Woodbridge both had just over six tenths of an inch. On Sunday, Cranbury Township in the southern portion of the county, tallied up 1.2 inches of rain in thunderstorms.
In other areas around the state, New Providence in Union County had 0.45 inches on Sunday while Howell, in Southern Monmouth County racked up three quarters of an inch. Over in Somerset County, Franklin Township compiled 0.68 inches while Bedminster received 0.61 inches. To the west in Hunterdon County, several stations in Flemington reported 0.93, 0.97, and 1.16 inches respectively while Califon had 0.86, and Clinton tallied up 0.82 inches. Just to the north in Warren County, Greenwich came in with the most rain at just under a half an inch while Washington Township reported just under four tenths of an inch. Further south in Ocean County, Jackson Township had some heavy rain go through with one location in the town receiving two-thirds of an inch while another section of the town had 1.62 inches, and another reporting station there received 3.68 inches. Returning north into Essex County, Cedar Grove had 1.2 inches on Sunday while Harrison in Hudson County just had a quarter of an inch. Wantage in Sussex County reported 0.35 inches on Sunday.
The reason for this tropical like weather are a couple things. First, there has been a large ridge of high pressure in the middle of the country, and that stretched eastward. It had produced a significant heatwave as of late last week. To the east of the ridge is a trough of low pressure that is accompanied by a frontal system. The heat and humidity provided plenty of energy and the trough over the region has supplied enough instability for showers and storms. A change is on the way though as the frontal system accompanying the trough is pushing eastward. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for portions of Central New York and Northern Pennsylvania until 10:00 PM. A solid line of storms has developed during the course of the afternoon from Southeastern Canada, through New York, and stretching into Central and Western Pennsylvania. We’ll have to see if this line of storms will hold together and get to the Garden State.
Thunderstorms Likely on Saturday and Possible for Balance of Labor Day Weekend
As the unofficial end of summer is upon us, many are getting away to celebrate the holiday weekend across the United States. Here in the Northeast though, Friday looks to be the best day of the weekend. Starting on Saturday, the weather will begin to go downhill as an upper level low approaches from the Upper Midwest.
The Storm Prediction Center indicates that there were be a lot of available energy in the atmosphere on Saturday, but there won’t be a great deal of instability and wind shear to fuel severe storms with high wind and hail. The Weather Channel indicates that there will be an 80 percent chance of rain on Saturday and a 60 percent chance on both Sunday and Monday.
While much of the Midwest and Great Plains is still baking in the heat from the grip of a strong dome of high pressure, the Northeast has laid on the periphery of that high. Conditions have been warm and muggy with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s along with dew points in the low 70s. So far on Friday, the temperature in Northwestern Middlesex County has been hovering in the mid 70s, but dew points are still in the upper 60s to near 70.
The muggy weather will provide the energy to create the possibility of storms this weekend. Will the stormy weather hold off for Saturday afternoon’s game between the Yankees and Orioles at Yankee Stadium? The forecast from the National Weather Service office in Upton, New York is calling for a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening. The probability will increase to 50 percent for Sunday. The chance of storms is expected to linger even into Tuesday.
Isolated Strong To Severe Storms Possible; Widespread Outbreak Not Likely
Earlier this week, I had reported on the increased possibility of strong to severe thunderstorms starting on Monday night, and lasting into Wednesday. So far, there hasn’t been much of a severe threat this week. There were cloudy skies on Monday, and some morning rain on Tuesday that brought a tenth of an inch to South Plainfield, but nothing like the heavy rain that was originally forecast.
Things could change tomorrow though as as a disturbance will combine with an approaching cold front to bring some rain and isolated strong to severe storms. The latest outlook from the Storm Prediction Center indicates that areas from the Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic could see isolated clusters of thunderstorms develop with damaging winds and heavy rain. As of this time though, no widespread severe weather is expected. Indications are that there will not be enough wind shear, and instability to produce a larger severe outbreak.
Looking at the current weather map of the United States, a large dome of high pressure continues to sit over the middle of the country, and that is providing hot conditions from South Texas to Northern Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Southeastern Montana. Temperatures throughout this region have been running from the low 90s to above 100 degrees. Factor in the dew points that have been running between the mid 60s and mid 70s, and you have oppressive conditions with heat index values topping out well over 100 degrees. Right now (10:28 PM EDT), heat index values are still running between the mid 80s to mid 90s throughout much of the Midwest and Great Plains.
With the strong dome of high pressure entrenched in the country’s mid-section, you have what forecasters call a ring of fire pattern running around the high. On the northern periphery of the high, places such as Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan are under Severe Weather watches thanks to thunderstorms that have fired up in those portions of the U.S. The SPC has put those areas under a slight risk for severe storms tonight. The ring of fire pattern that has developed has in the past been a breeding ground for of derechos or powerful line of storms.
Temperatures are expected to rise into the mid to upper 80s on both Wednesday and Thursday across New Jersey. Right now, the local forecast from the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, New Jersey is calling for a 30 percent chance of storms on Wednesday and Wednesday night with a 20 percent chance on Thursday.
Severe Weather Also Produces Tornadoes In Queens And Brooklyn And A Waterspout In Brick Township
After several days of more warmth and tremendous humidity over the Garden State last week, the heavens erupted again this past Saturday with several rounds of severe weather across New Jersey as well as New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut as well as much of Southern New England. This latest round produced tornadoes in Queens and Brooklyn as well as a waterspout near Brick Township.
The twister in Queens was an EF0 on the Enhance Fujita Scale near Breezy Point while the one in Brooklyn was located in the Canarsie section, and was an EF1. Both storms developed in the late morning well before the strong line of thunderstorms pushed through the region in the late afternoon. The waterspout also occurred around the same time as the two twisters. Another waterspout near Asbury Park was reported, but not confirmed.
Storms that developed during the late afternoon were more widespread as a powerful cold front pushed eastward and spawned severe thunderstorms from New England to Northern Georgia and Alabama. The leading edge came through between 5:00 and 6:00 PM with a strong gust front that produced high winds in places such as Edison, Woodbridge, and Perth Amboy in Middlesex County as well as Montville in Morris County and Clinton Township in Hunterdon County.
The second wave of storms in the afternoon produced very little in the way of rain. Even the third wave that followed in the early evening didn’t produce much either. In South Plainfield, the total rainfall from the two rounds of storms accompanying the cold front was just under a quarter of an inch. The storms did down trees in many places in Jersey.
Experts Caution That Storm Rains Are Not Going To Be A Drought-Buster
Slowly, but surely, Tropical Depression Isaac is heading northward. Rains from the storm are moving into the southern part of Arkansas. The storm has been winding down as well with winds finally going below minimal tropical storm force. The Northern Gulf States took a beating from Isaac with a more significant storm surge than expected, especially in Plaquemines Parish and St. John’s Parish. The rains have also caused a flooding problem along the Louisiana and Mississippi border near the Tangipahoa River, where a dam failure occurred.
Despite the devastation that Isaac has caused from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, the depression could bring some much needed rain to the drought stricken Corn Belt in the Midwest. Places in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio are in the midst of their worst drought in over 50 years. It has had devastating effects on the crops there, which has in turn caused a rise in food prices in other parts of the country. The GFS model shows Isaac pushing rains northward into Missouri, and then turning eastward into the Midwest and Ohio Valley over the next few days as it combines with a cold front.
The rainfall could be the silver lining to the storm, but it will not mean an end to the drought. According to a U.S. Today article, the drought in Missouri has been so severe that the rainfall deficit has grown to nearly 20 inches since June of last year. In addition, the storm’s remnants could bring more harm than good with gusty winds knocking down and damaging crops such as corn, rice, and soybeans. The rains could also be too much and too late.
Almost a quarter of the nation is undergoing either a extreme or exceptional drought according to an article from the Washington Post. However, recent rains have helped ease the drought situation a little bit in Iowa and Illinois. Iowa, which is the nation’s largest corn producing state benefited the most from the rain while Indiana and Missouri benefited the least.
A heavy rain wouldn’t really help this drought stricken area. Too much rain in too little time will prevent the rain from being absorbed into the ground. The region is hoping for a good soaking rain from the storm system. Even if it does get that, it won’t be enough to end the drought, and it will be too late to help the harvest of many crops.
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