Temperatures To Remain At Or Below Normal Until Mid-Week
While clouds developed during the afternoon into the early evening, there was no measurable rainfall in South Plainfield on Saturday. The brunt of the rain ended up hitting further south. High temperature on Saturday reached 60 degrees after bottoming out in the low 30s in the morning.
Temperatures were a bit warmer this morning. Upon waking up at about 7:30 AM, I found that the temperature was sitting at 45 degrees. The low temperature was 38 degrees. The NWS office in Mount Holly, New Jersey is calling for a high temperature of 67 degrees, which is about average for this time of year. Nothing but sunny skies for the next couple days.
There are a couple problems to look out for around the Garden State. With low humidities and gusty winds expected, the NWS has elevated the fire risk for this afternoon. Tonight, there will be another issue as clear skies and light winds will provide the optimal setting for radiational cooling. As a result, there is a Frost Advisory in effect from 2:00 AM to 8:00 AM on Monday morning. Temperatures are forecast to drop to the mid to upper 30s overnight.
Speaking of temperatures, the seven day forecast indicates that the mercury will be at or below normal until mid-week. Then, temperatures will be in the low to mid 70s, but there will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here is video footage from a trip that I took to Washington Valley Park in Bridgewater, New Jersey in late April 2012. It was another nice day for a trip as the weather continued to be mostly dry during the early part of 2012. The more rugged terrain of this park included rock covered paths, and provided nice views of the water from the reservoir.
Windy Conditions Combining With Low Humidities To Rejuvenate Enhanced Fire Threat
Good afternoon everyone. As promised, the sun did return on Friday along with rather windy conditions, but the temperatures have been a bit cooler than expected. In my journal from yesterday, you may have read that a high temperature of 63 degrees was expected in Northwestern Middlesex County on Friday. As of right now, the high has only been about 56 degrees.
About an hour ago, the temperature only stood at 52 degrees. When I noticed that on my weather station’s display in the house, I had to put on my glasses because I was a bit in disbelief. Since then, the mercury has climbed to 55 degrees. The revised forecast from the National Weather Service calls for a high of only 57 this afternoon in South Plainfield. The wind has been the big story though.
At the weather station outside, winds have been sustained at the surface at 4 miles per hour with gusts up to 12 miles per hour. Those are much higher than the past couple of days when we have had very light winds or calm conditions. The breezy conditions are combining with low humidity in the area to enhance a fire risk, and that has caught the attention of the NWS as well. A Hazardous Weather Outlook for this enhanced fire danger has been issued for today along with the possibility of freezing temperatures tonight and Monday. The freeze conditions are expected outside the urban areas in places like the Pine Barrens.
Rain is possible for tomorrow with a 20 percent chance during the day increasing to a 50 percent chance by Saturday night. Temperatures will be a bit higher, but still below normal. As a matter of fact, temperatures are expected to remain below normal through the early part of next week.
Here is video footage I took during my trip to Manasquan Reservoir in Howell Township, located in Southern Monmouth County, New Jersey. It was my third trip to the Jersey Shore this spring, and third to a state or county reservoir. The Manasquan Reservoir was a nice site with paths all around the reservoir, and wildlife sanctuaries. Cloud formations near the reservoir added to the scenic view. You can also view pictures from this trip in an album on the Greg’s Weather Center Picture Gallery.
Storm Brings Much Needed Rain, But Forecasted Rainfall Amounts Fall Short
It has been a few days since the late season Nor’easter moved through Central Jersey as well as the Garden State, and I didn’t have a chance to reflect on it until the past couple days. I had made a couple posts about the storm over the weekend, but things got busy at work, and I wasn’t able to get back to talking about it until now.
The storm was a potent one. The barometric pressure here in South Plainfield dropped to 29.10 inches of Hg on Sunday night. It was the lowest pressure in Northwestern Middlesex County since Hurricane Irene back in late August 2011. The brunt of the storm came in after I came home from work on Sunday night. From about 7:30 PM to about midnight, the storm pummeled the Central Jersey area with heavy rain and gusty winds.
However, once that fierce wave of storminess passed, things gradually got back to normal. While conditions still remained unsettled for the next couple of days, the worst of the nor’easter was over. The storm’s fury didn’t linger much into Monday morning for the rush hour commute. While the forecast was fairly accurate in terms of the timing of the worst part of the storm, it was incorrect as far as how long it was going to stick around.
Consequently, rainfall amounts were lower than expected. The forecast indicated that there would be about 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rainfall from this system. When all the raindrops were tallied up though on Monday, South Plainfield only got 1.32 inches of rain. A bit further north in Basking Ridge, which is located in Northern Somerset County, there was only 1.47 inches of rain on Sunday. To the south in Hillsborough in Southern Somerset County, there was 2.23 inches of rain while in New Brunswick, the county seat in Middlesex County, there was 2.22 inches of rain on Sunday.
The positive is that we didn’t get any of the flooding projected. The negative was that the storm didn’t put as big a dent in the drought as first thought. Prior to the storm, New Jersey was running a rainfall deficit of 6 to 9 inches depending upon where you are located. The first measurable rainfall in April didn’t come to South Plainfield until the middle of last week. Normally, there is over 4 inches of rain on average in New Jersey during the month of April. Historically, the Garden State averages about 11 inches of rain over the first four months of the year. Before the storm, much of the state had only about 4 to 6 inches. South Plainfield had about 3.94 inches.
Much of the Garden State has been in a moderate drought with the lack of rain this spring on top of a below average winter in terms of snow. So, while 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain would still left us in a rainfall deficit, it would have made a bigger dent. On the plus side though, the storm has brought in a weather pattern that has kept temperatures cooler than normal, and raised humidities somewhat, which has helped quell the fire threat for now.
Here is some footage from the approach of a recent nor’easter in the Raritan Center section of Edison in late April 2012. This storm brought anywhere from 1.32 inches to 2.23 inches throughout Central Jersey. While those rainfall totals were about an inch or so below what was originally forecast, they did help quell the onset of moderate drought throughout much of the Garden State.
Wind And Coastal Flood Advisory Now In Effect In Middlesex County
The storm is coming. Already there has been some rain overnight. Showers and storms along with gusty winds passed through on Saturday night into early Sunday morning bringing nearly a quarter of an inch to South Plainfield. Another brief shower just pushed through Northern Middlesex County during the nine o’ clock hour, and brought 0.01 inches of rain.
Much more is coming though. A more steady band of rain is slugging its way up north from South Jersey. So things will continue to ramp up as the morning progresses. Rainfall amounts are still forecast to be anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 inches around the Garden State. Winds are also expected to be a factor. The National Weather Service in Mount Holly has issued a Wind Advisory for the area. Winds are expected to be sustained between 20 and 30 miles per hour with gusts in excess of 45 miles per hour.
The NWS office in Mount Holly has also issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for coastal areas in Middlesex County such as South Amboy, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, and Old Bridge.
The show is about to begin across New Jersey as the first act in a three day event is about to start. A line of showers and thunderstorms have blossomed in Eastern Pennsylvania, and are pushing eastward. The line stretches from just south of Scranton in the north to east of Harrisburg in the south, and goes west toward Williamsport. We’ll have to see if this line holds up.
Skies have begun to get cloudy here in the Raritan Center section of Edison, New Jersey. Meanwhile, another cluster of showers and storms has developed over Northeastern Pennsylvania near Interstate 84 and Port Jervis in New York. The National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly did indicate that there may have some gusty winds and heavy downpours from thunderstorms that develop on Saturday afternoon and evening.
Moving on to the second act, which will begin in earnest on Sunday, the NWS in Mount Holly also issued a Flood Watch for portions of Central Jersey including Middlesex County. Rainfall amounts are expected to be anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5 inches in the watch area. Some areas may get even more than that. The frontal system that is beginning to push through now is expected to stall, which will allow a storm system from the southeast to move up into the Mid-Atlantic and New England over the next two days.
The flood watch stretches from Southern Connecticut through New York City into New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Northern Delaware. Quick responding streams and small rivers are prone for flooding along with drainage areas. Urban flooding is likely. Further north in the Passaic River Basin, if more than 3.5 inches falls, then we could have significant river flooding. So places such as Wayne and Pompton Lakes could have another round of flooding.
Scale That Measures Hurricane Intensity Gets Minor Change For Category 4 Storms
Another loose end that was cleared up going into the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season was a minor adjustment done to the Saffir-Simpson Scale. To clear up an issue with wind speeds for Category Four Hurricanes, the National Hurricane Center made an adjustment to the scale that measures hurricane intensity. Now, Category Three Hurricanes will have winds from 111 to 129 miles per hour, Category Four storms will have winds from 130 to 156 miles per hour, and Category Five systems will have winds greater than 157 miles per hour.
The reason why this is occurring is because of a conversion issue with the wind speeds. Maximum sustained winds measured in tropical storms and hurricanes are measured in knots, which are converted to miles per hour. Currently, 115 knots is equivalent to 132.3 miles per hour. When the wind speeds are converted from knots to miles per hour, they are rounded off usually. In this case, 115 knots would be equivalent 130 miles per hour. However, 115 knots, which has been within the current threshold for Category Four storms, usually is rounded up to 135 miles per hour.
The same problem occurs with Category Four to Category Five hurricanes. As a result, the scale has been tweaked to reflect the reduction of the wind speed interval in Category Three from 111 to 129 miles per hour, and Category Five now being set to 157 miles per hour or greater. Now, the scale accurately reflects the wind speeds for Category Four systems. The changes will become effective at the start of the 2012 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season, which begins on May 15, and will also go into effect for the upcoming Atlantic season.
The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season is less than a month and a half away, but there are still some things to wrap up from last year. One of those things was the list of storm names from the 2011 season. Last year, there were only a couple of storms that had some sort of impact on the United States. One of them was Hurricane Irene, a storm that impacted the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Irene was the only hurricane to impact the United States, and it was the third hurricane to make a direct landfall over New Jersey in recorded history, and first hurricane to make landfall over New York City since 1893. Hurricane Irene actually made two landfalls over New Jersey. One near Cape May, and the other near Little Egg Harbor in Southeastern Ocean County. No other storm in recorded history has ever done that. The storm brought a great deal of rain to the Garden State after it had already been deluged for much of August 2011.
In addition, the storm also wreaked havoc in North Carolina and Vermont. Thankfully, the storm weakened considerably after moving through the Bahamas as a Category Three system, and headed toward the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Although Irene showed signs of strengthening, the storm gradually weakened as it headed toward its first landfall in North Carolina. Dry air got entrained in the system, and deprived it of the fuel it needed to restrengthen.
The storm ended up being responsible for 48 deaths and approximately $16 billion in damage. Not bad considering the storm was mostly a Category One Hurricane and strong tropical storm when it went through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Flood damage along the Passaic River and the Raritan River among others in New Jersey was extensive. Rains caused creeks and streams to be raging rivers in Vermont washing out bridges, and leaving many stranded and isolated.
As a result, the name Irene was retired from the list of Atlantic storm names. It marked the 76th time since 1954 that a storm name had been retired. It will be replaced on the storm list for 2017 by Irma.