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.
Here is a severe weather report for New Jersey on August 17, 2012. A cold front is pushing eastward into a warm and humid air mass over the Garden State, and that could produce strong to severe thunderstorms for not only Northwestern Middlesex County, but also for much of the state as well.
Line Of Storms Stretching From West of Scranton To Westminster Maryland
Earlier today, I noted that there is a good likelihood of severe weather across our area. Right now, conditions across the region are starting to look that way. Over the past several hours, there has been a good deal of changing skies while winds are increasing out of the southwest. The sun has come out, and may be the catalyst to generating severe weather around the Garden State.
Temperature wise, it is still very hot and humid. Currently, at Somerville Airport in Bridgewater, the temperature stands at 92 degrees. Further east in Northwestern Middlesex County, the GWC WX Station is reporting a temperature of 91.4 degrees with a dew point of 75 degrees. The heat index rose to 105 degrees earlier thanks to high humidity that produced a peak dew point of 79 degrees.
Looking at the latest satellite and radar, there has been plenty of low level moisture streaming up from the southwest ahead of the approaching cold front. The combination of the moisture stream and the approach of the front is creating a bit of wind shear. Strong thunderstorms are building up along a line that stretches from just west of Scranton in Northeastern Pennsylvania southward to Westminster in Central Maryland. According to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, these storms are capable of producing hail that is one inch in diameter, 70 mile per hour winds, and dangerous lightning.
As a result, the SPC has issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch #564 for Southeastern Pennsylvania, Central Maryland, Northern Delaware, Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and Western New Jersey until 9:00 PM on Sunday night. Residents in Middlesex County should closely monitor the progress of these storms as they march eastward, and be prepared for the possibility of severe weather.
Flash Flood Watch In Effect Until Monday; Storms Already In NE PA
As forecasted late last week, there is a strong possibility that there will be some form of severe weather on Sunday afternoon and evening. The question is whether or not it will be of the variety that occurred on Wednesday afternoon, or the type that happened on July 26th and July 28th. The air is very humid with plenty of low level moisture and a front is approaching from the west. So, something will have to give on Sunday.
In anticipation of the clashing of these two air masses, the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly has issued a Flash Flood Watch for all of Northern New Jersey as well as Somerset and Middlesex counties in Central Jersey from 1:00 PM this afternoon to Monday morning. Heavy rain is possible with the storms set to come through this afternoon. Rainfall amounts could run as high as two inches per hour in some locations. On Saturday afternoon, there was an isolated thunderstorm that was capable of producing hail and 60 mile per hour winds near Dunellen. The storm, which moved to the north into Somerset and Morris counties, ended up bringing 0.43 inches of rain to South Plainfield.
Looking at the radar a little while ago, GWC was able to locate a batch of thunderstorms developing in Northeastern Pennsylvania near Scranton. Meanwhile, the skies are going through some changes. Darker and lower cumulus clouds are developing underneath the layer of cirrocumulus and altocumulus clouds over Northern Middlesex County. Skies are also getting progressively darker to the north and west of the region. Winds have picked up a bit from the southwest.
Forecast for this afternoon is calling for storms to develop and some of them to have gusty winds and heavy rain. The same goes for Sunday night into Monday morning before daybreak.
Warnings Already Issued For Parts Of Jersey; T-Storm Watch In Effect Until 10:00 PM
The thunderstorm threat is back again. After thunderstorms fizzled out in the late afternoon and early evening across Jersey, another threat has developed for Saturday. Strong thunderstorms developed this morning over Western New York near the Eastern Great Lakes. Storms also developed across Long Island during the course of the morning, but nothing had occurred yet in New Jersey.
However, during the lunch hour, things started to heat up in the Garden State. Clouds started to build in, and severe thunderstorms developed. Both of the storm cells were over parts of Central Jersey. One caused a Severe Thunderstorm Warning to be issued for Mercer, Western Monmouth, Southwestern Middlesex, and Southwestern Somerset County until 2:00 PM. The other was for Southern Monmouth and Northern Ocean County until 1:45 PM. These storms had the capability to produce hail and winds in excess of 60 miles per hour.
While these storms have pushed offshore, there are still potential problems. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the entire state until 10:00 PM. Here in Northern Middlesex County, there is a good deal of overcast, and a bit of a breeze out of the east. Conditions remain humid, but it is a bit cool out for this time of day. Temperature in South Plainfield is 77 degrees while the dew point is up to 74 degrees. If the sun comes out though, severe weather is very likely since the heating of the sun will act as a catalyst for the instability that is already in place.
The locations within the watch area can expect hail up to 1.5 inches in diameter, winds in excess of 70 miles per hour, and dangerous lightning. Looking at the latest radar, a lot of thunderstorm activity could be seen over Southeastern New York in counties such as Orange, Rockland, and Putnam. Meanwhile, back in the Garden State, there are a few pockets of strong thunderstorms including Sussex County, Warren County, Morris County, and Burlington County. Nothing threatening Middlesex County yet. Keep an eye to the sky this afternoon and evening.
Parts Of New Jersey Could See Encore Of Thursday Night’s Severe Weather
Ready for another round of strong to severe thunderstorms? Believe it or not, more severe weather is possible again on Friday night around the Garden State. Skies have been variably cloudy and conditions have been unsettled all day today. In addition, there is still a great deal of humidity in the area.
Temperatures are not as hot as they were yesterday in Northwestern Middlesex County. The mercury only climbed to the upper 80s in South Plainfield, and the dew point was a bit lower to make the heat index feel like it was in the mid 90s outside. However, conditions are still uncomfortable with the peak dew point reaching 75 degrees.
The National Weather Service in Mount Holly has given a 30 to 40 percent chance of thunderstorms developing late this afternoon into the evening. Strong to severe thunderstorms already have been rumbling through Central and Eastern Pennsylvania. While the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has not issued any watches for the region yet, the NWS indicates that storms containing gusty winds and heavy rains are possible tonight.
Much of the real hot weather stayed off to the south and west on Friday. An excessive heat warning remains in effect for the Philadelphia metro area including the New Jersey capital of Trenton. A Heat Advisory remained in effect for much of South Jersey including Atlantic City. It was quite a storm on Thursday night.
The severe weather here in Northwestern Middlesex County was the third round of storms during the day on Thursday. There was a brief thundershower in the early morning followed by a stronger storm that brought a downpour by late morning. The rainfall in the morning set the stage for the severe weather in the afternoon creating a great deal of moisture and instability for the sun to play with when it came out in the early afternoon.
Temperatures that were in the low to mid 70s at mid-morning climbed into the low 90s by the afternoon. Dew points went up from 69 in the morning to 77 by the late afternoon. The combination of the increased heat and humidity made it feel like 104 degrees outside in South Plainfield. Strong thunderstorms fed off of the heat and humidity as they began their jaunt from Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania during the mid-afternoon.
Moving at a rate of 50 miles per hour, these storms had the capability of producing hail that was two inches in diameter and 80 mile per hour winds along with dangerous cloud to ground lightning. In some instances, the storms spun off tornadoes. Elmira, New York had people from the National Weather Service office in Binghamton investigating the area for the possibility of tornadoes. A Tornado Watch was issued for Northeastern Pennsylvania by late afternoon.
The hardest hit areas in Jersey from this derecho like system were in Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, and Monmouth County. Doppler radar detected a bow echo like feature pushing through the southern part of Middlesex County into interior Monmouth County near Freehold. Some 20,000 people were left without power in the wake of the storms and six people were injured according to an article written in Friday’s Star-Ledger.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, there were reports of 3 tornadoes, 419 of straight line winds, and 38 of hail from the severe weather on Thursday. Two of those three reports of twisters came from Elmira, New York. Three reports of hail came from Pennsylvania while one came from New York. Ten reports of high winds came from New Jersey including one from Plainfield for downed wires on Park Avenue, and then another from Edison for downed trees. Three people were injured in Rockaway Township in Morris County when a downed tree fell on a house there.
Hot, humid, and unsettled weather is expected through the weekend with temperatures reaching the mid to upper 80s with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening from Saturday to Tuesday.
Long Line Of Strong Storms Bearing Down On New Jersey
With another day of intense heat and humidity, the Garden State is primed for severe weather as we head into the evening on Thursday. Earlier this morning, two waves of thunderstorms passed through without much in the way of rain, but it created a very hot and humid atmosphere, which is providing the spark for an intense line of thunderstorms moving through Central and Eastern Pennsylvania.
Temperatures were in the upper 60s to low 70s this morning, but after the two waves of storms came through, the sun emerged to heat up an already unstable atmosphere. The temperature went up to 74 by 9:00 AM, 83 by 12:00 PM, and then a high of 91.1 during the mid-afternoon. The dew point soared up to 77 degrees and combined with the temperature, made it feel like it was 104 degrees outside.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has placed Northwestern Middlesex County as well as the rest of the Garden State under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch. Already some of those areas are under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Further to the Northwest in Northeastern Pennsylvania, near Scranton, there is a Tornado Watch. What we have here is the makings of another derecho, but this one is further north than the one that pummeled South Jersey about a month or so ago. These storms are capable of producing dangerous lightning, hail 2 inches in diameter along with 80 mile per hour winds.
The watch area stretches some 65 miles to the north and south of a line from 25 miles North-Northeast of Groton Connecticut to 65 miles Northwest of Wilmington, Delaware. Skies are already darkening here in Northwestern Middlesex County. Take cover, and
Severe Thunderstorm Watch In Effect Until 11:00 PM EDT
Over the past couple of days, there has been a gradual buildup of heat and humidity around the Garden State. Yesterday, the high temperature in Northwestern Middlesex County was 84 degrees and the heat index was up to 88 thanks to a dew point in the upper 60s. Monday has been much more humid as well as a bit warmer. The high temperature as of 2:17 PM this afternoon was 90.8 degrees with a dew point of 73.2 degrees. The heat index was just over 100.
As a result of the increased heat and humidity, there has been more clouds and instability. Skies have also been much more hazy. Thunderstorms have already developed over extreme Northeastern Pennsylvania and moved into Northwestern New Jersey. In response, the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for those areas earlier in the afternoon. Within the past couple hours, skies over Northern Middlesex County have grown darker, but no rain has fallen yet.
At about 1:30 PM EDT, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the northern half of New Jersey until 11:00 PM this evening. Severe storms are moving toward the area according to the latest doppler radar. According to the NWS, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is now in effect for Northern Middlesex County as a severe thunderstorm located near Long Valley had the capability of producing golf ball sized hail and winds in excess of 60 miles per hour.
Wednesday’s Severe Weather Breaks Back Of 4th Heat Wave, But Weather Remains Murky
On Wednesday, I traveled through a good portion of Central Jersey tracking the severe weather including the thunderstorm that developed over South Amboy and moved down the Route 35 and 36 corridors during the mid-afternoon before coming home and taking in the storminess in Northwestern Middlesex County around dinner time.
While the storms caused a lot of damage in many parts of the New York Metropolitan area including Rockland County, Queens, and Long Island as well as a good deal of Northern New Jersey, South Plainfield once again appeared to have dodged a bullet. Although the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Northwestern Middlesex County before 5:00 PM on Wednesday, the region received only about a quarter of an inch of rain.
The storm cell that rolled through a good deal of Somerset, Middlesex, and Monmouth County around dinner time was estimated by doppler radar to have winds in excess of 60 miles per hour and nickel size hail. Over in Edison near the Metuchen border by Tano Mall, winds gusted, and the rain came down furiously. About a half an inch of rain fell there. However, a couple of reporting stations in South Plainfield only received 0.22 and 0.24 inches respectively according to CoCoRaHS. In addition, the winds in town didn’t really get any higher than 25 miles per hour.
Regardless of the damage or lack of damage these storms left behind, they served their purpose. Prior to their arrival in the mid to late afternoon on Wednesday, temperature and humidity levels soared. Newark reached 104 degrees. South Plainfield topped out at 102 degrees along with a heat index of 118 after 1:00 PM in the afternoon. Those marks were the highest all year. Meanwhile, the dew point in Northwestern Middlesex County reached 77 degrees. By 7:00 PM, the temperature had plummeted to 76 degrees while the heat index fell to about 80, and the dew point dropped to 74.
On top of breaking the latest heat wave of the summer, the storms brought some rainfall to areas that do need it. The problem was that the amount of rain wasn’t enough. With yesterday’s rain, there have been only five days of measurable rainfall since June 13th in South Plainfield. Total rain during the last 35 days has only been 1.62 inches of rain. In July alone, there had only been 0.76 inches of rain for the month, which is about an inch and a quarter below normal. So far this year, there has been approximately 13.58 inches of rain.
The severe weather onslaught started out quietly before lunch time in the Central Jersey area. Cumulus clouds began showing tremendous vertical development with all the heat and humidity in the atmosphere. The air was plenty unstable enough to produce what occurred on Wednesday. Cumulus clouds to the northeast of South Plainfield grew dramatically over the next hour. Simultaneously, more cumulus clouds started to gather and grow to the south forming a line to the west of the area.
The explosive development of these thunderstorm clouds produced severe weather in Southeastern New York and Northeastern New Jersey. Places such as Ramapo and Armonk in Rockland County, New York were hit hard by severe storms that produced hail and high winds. Passaic County was under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a while. Storms also raced through parts of the five boroughs of New York City into Long Island. A bolt of lightning struck a building in Manhattan at the peak of the storms. At one point, the severe weather spawned over 1,000 lightning strikes in just 30 seconds.
Around 2:00 PM, a clap of thunder kicked off a severe thunderstorm in South Amboy. I happened to be in Waterfront Park at the time taking pictures. The storm ended up following me all the way down Route 35 and Route 36 South. The thunderstorm cell generated plenty of lightning strikes and that could be seen in places such as Keyport, Union Beach, Keansburg, Port Monmouth, and Middletown. The strikes helped knock out power to traffic lights in Aberdeen and the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge. The rain also caused a good deal of ponding on the roads along Route 35 in those areas.
Vivid lightning could also be seen in Northern New Jersey near Little Falls along Route 46. Tens of thousands were left without power from this latest wave of storms. While the severe weather halted the four day heat wave, it didn’t drive out the humid air that has also plagued the Garden State. The front that brought the strong to severe thunderstorms on Wednesday stalled out just to the south of the Northwestern Middlesex County area. As a result, conditions remained unsettled with plenty of cloudiness and humidity. Dew points were in the upper 60s to low 70s on Thursday. Friday looks like more of the same, but with some much needed rainfall.