Seventeen Counties Around Garden State Under Threat Of Severe Storms
As mentioned earlier, a cold front is approaching from the west to bring in some refreshing cooler and drier air into the region. With the cold front driving into the warm and humid air over our region, the battle lines have been drawn for severe weather. A solid line of thunderstorms has been moving eastward through Pennsylvania during much of the afternoon. Warnings are out in many of the Eastern counties in the Keystone State.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for much of New Jersey until 10:00 PM on Tuesday night. Seventeen of the 21 counties around the Garden State are under the watch. The only counties not under the gun in New Jersey are Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem. Northwestern Middlesex County is right in the bullseye for the severe weather.
Possible effects from these storms are heavy rain, dangerous lightning, and gusty winds. The storms should arrive in our area by about 8:00 PM. Showers and storms should linger into Wednesday morning before conditions finally start to clear out, and fair weather returns with much cooler and drier air coming in.
The timing of the hot weather over the past several days here in New Jersey couldn’t have been any more perfect. Memorial Day saw the highest temperature and heat index of the year to date. On Tuesday, mother nature raised her game another notch with another torrid weather day around the state including Northwestern Middlesex County.
On Monday, the mercury reached a high of 90.5 degrees with a heat index of 100.7. Not bad for the unofficial start of the summer season, and perfect for beachgoers. Then came Tuesday. The return to the work week was accompanied by even warmer weather. Earlier this afternoon, the temperature topped 90 again with a high of 92, which is now the hottest temperature to date this year. There have only been three days so far this year where the mercury climbed to 90 or above. Two of them have happened on Monday and Tuesday.
The heat index made it feel even hotter. Accompanying the hot temperatures were high humidity levels that made it feel like 104 in South Plainfield this afternoon. The dew point maxed out at just under 76 degrees. Winds have picked up a little bit since yesterday with gusts of up to 5 miles per hour at the surface. There are changes on the way though.
A cold front is approaching from the west. It was in Indiana last night, western Ohio this morning, and is now pushing through Pennsylvania. Severe Thunderstorm Watches have already been issued in Central Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, pop up t-storms have developed to the east of the watch area in parts of Eastern Pennsylvania. These storms should arrive in our backyard by later tonight and tomorrow. The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly has indicated in a Hazardous Weather Outlook that the storms could bring heavy rains.
After the front moves through, temperatures should be more comfortable on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Brush Fires, Heat, And Tropical Storm Highlight Holiday Weekend
Could this weekend’s weather throughout the country be an omen of things to come this summer? It’s too early to tell, but the rash of brush fires from the Midwest to Southwest along with blistering heat, and even an early season tropical storm has been the topic of discussion nationwide, and making people wonder what could be next.
If you recall, last year was a year remembered for a brutal winter in the Northeast, and the large outbreak of tornadoes in April, and the Joplin tornado in May. The heat didn’t really come until late June and July, and that was followed by tremendous rainfall in the Northeast during August. Included in that rainfall was the onslaught of Hurricane Irene, the first hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey since 1903.
This year, weather has been much tamer, especially in the Northeast, where things had been dry until a little more than a month ago. Heat and brush fires have been the story as of late. Brush fires have exploded across the country with some of the bigger ones in Arizona while others have stretched as far north as Michigan in the U.S. and parts of Southeastern Canada. Tremendous heat has built up in the middle of the country with temperatures soaring as high as 100 degrees in the Midwest.
Severe weather developed in the Mid-Atlantic during the afternoon and early evening as a powerful line of thunderstorms barreled through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Washington D.C., Baltimore, Harrisburg, and Hagerstown were all in the crosshairs. Meanwhile further south along the Southeast coast from North Carolina to Northern Florida, Tropical Storm Beryl emerged from subtropical storm status on Sunday, and had winds approaching hurricane force earlier. Heavy rains, storm surge up to 3 feet, rip currents, and gusty winds are some of the effects from this storm as it approached Jacksonville.
The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn’t officially start until Friday, and already we have had two named storms. The Eastern Pacific also has had two named storms. More on the Atlantic Basin’s fast start later.
Thirteen Days Of Measurable Rain In South Plainfield This Month
Earlier this year, the weather throughout much of the Garden State was very dry causing numerous brush fires and even talks of drought.
For almost the entire first four months of 2012, there had been just 3.9 inches of rain here in Northwestern Middlesex County. The month of March only saw 0.56 inches of rain while no rain fell for the first four weeks or so of April.
Red Flag Warnings and Fire Dangers were on the increase, and fires were breaking out in great numbers across New Jersey. Most notably, fires developed in the Pine Barrens and near the Meadowlands. However, over the past five plus weeks things have changed for the better, and that has brought some much needed relief to residents.
Since late April, there has been 4.83 inches of rain. Almost an entire inch more than nearly the first four months of this year. A good chunk of that has come during the month of May. To date, there has been 13 days of measurable rainfall in Northwestern Middlesex County. Total rain for the month of May 2012 in South Plainfield has been 3.45 inches.
The largest rainfall this month occurred on May 21st when 1.44 inches of rain fell. More could be on the way this week as thunderstorms are possible on Monday and Tuesday.
Temperatures Expected To Reach 90 For Memorial Day
Over the past several days, the temperatures have soared throughout much of the United States, and New Jersey has not been an exception.
On Saturday, the mercury climbed to its highest levels for the entire month of May to date with a high of just under 87 degrees here in South Plainfield. Today, temperatures were a bit down thanks to a good deal of cloud cover in the morning and early afternoon.
The high on Sunday only reached about 83 degrees here in Northwestern Middlesex County. However, combined with the very high humidity, it was still quite uncomfortable outside. The peak dew point during the afternoon was 74 degrees, and the heat index was up to 89 degrees. Saturday’s heat index was over 96 degrees.
There was a threat of severe weather on Saturday. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued for Northwestern Middlesex County as well as much of the Garden State. However, despite skies darkening on a couple of occasions during the afternoon, no storms developed, and there was very little in the way of rainfall.
No severe weather developed during the day on Sunday in South Plainfield. However, further to the west and south in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, a powerful line of thunderstorms developed during the afternoon and early evening bringing high winds, hail, and heavy rain to those areas including Washington D.C.
Severe weather could be on tap for Monday here in New Jersey. With temperatures threatening record highs for the date, and humidity levels remaining high, conditions will be very unstable, and that could bring about the development of strong to severe thunderstorms. Tuesday even has a greater potential.
Good evening everyone. Sorry that I have been away, but I have been busy doing a lot of different things lately. I’ve been working some overtime at my job. At home, I’ve been working on a number of different projects simultaneously.
I just got a new computer, and have been working on getting some of its new features working. I have also been archiving old data from the previous installation of the weather station. So far I have posted data from 2002 and 2003 to the web site, and plan to have more added in the coming weeks.
The big news is that I finally got the old web cam working again. I had to get a new power supply for it since the old one was damaged (had a crimp in the wire). It took me a while to get the new one since Toshiba doesn’t sell power supplies for the camera anymore. The web cam has been up for over a week now, and I have been able to create new time lapse videos, and will have them posted soon.
Here is video that I took from a trip I made to the Navesink River in Red Bank in mid-May 2012. The weather was fantastic for this day as the sun was out in full force, and only high cirrus clouds got in the way of the blue sky. I ventured over to several spots along the river including Marine Park, Riverside Gardens Park, and Maple Cove.
Here is video footage that I took from a trip out to Sandy Hook in mid-May 2012. Temperatures were near 70 degrees with a nice breeze from the land to the ocean on this day. Took a tour of the river and bay side of the beach. The birds were stirred up quite a bit while a number of people were wind surfing. The weather was great. You can also see pictures from this trip in the GWC Picture Gallery.
La Niña Conditions Subsiding To ENSO Neutral Could Bring More Storms
Hurricane Season in the Northern Hemisphere is approaching. The Atlantic Hurricane Season is now less than a month away, and the Eastern Pacific Season is going to be starting up in five days. While both seasons end on November 30th, the Eastern Pacific gets a two week jump on the Atlantic. The earlier start in the Eastern Pacific is based upon data collected on these storms since 1949. About 90 percent of storms in both the EPAC and Atlantic occur between the start and end dates for their seasons.
On average, the Eastern Pacific gets about 16 named storms per season. Of those 16 named storms, about 9 of them become hurricanes, and four of those intensify to major hurricane status. The Eastern Pacific Basin is the second most active basin in the world next to the Western Pacific. Originally, before the era of satellites, the Atlantic was thought of as the second most active basin, but forecasters were proven wrong once they were able to get another set of eyes in space.
Extremes for this region have been a maximum of 28 named storms, 16 hurricanes, and 10 major hurricanes while there has been a minimum of 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and no major hurricanes. A very important variable in the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season forecast is the presence of either El Niño or La Niña. These phenomena have become very important ingredients in our global climate. El Niño occurs when sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific are warmer than average. This climate shift usually coincides with Christmas time in South America, and that was why it was first called El Niño by Peruvian fishermen.
La Niña is when the opposite happens. Cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific. When there is an El Niño that usually means a very active hurricane season in the EPAC. During La Niña, the Atlantic is usually busy. Why is that? Hurricanes thrive in warm water where the temperature is 80 degrees fahrenheit or better. Warm water is where these storms get their fuel. So, when an El Nino occurs, the sea surface temperatures are heated up to become very favorable for Eastern Pacific storms. The development of more storms in the EPAC then creates more of a shearing environment at the upper levels in the Atlantic, which inhibits Atlantic storms.
Conversely, the cooler water hinders storm development in the Eastern Pacific. The fewer EPAC storms, the less turbulence and wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere in the Altantic. As a result, Atlantic Hurricanes have less barriers to their development. With all of that said, the current state of the climate in the Eastern Pacific is in transition from La Niña to ENSO neutral. So, sea surface temperatures there are expected to be more normal during hurricane season. As a result, we could see a bit more activity than in recent years.
Historically, storms in the Eastern Pacific do not make direct impacts in the United States as hurricanes. There are exceptions though such as the 1858 San Diego Hurricane, and the 1939 Long Beach storm. The reason for this is because once you get north of Baja California in Mexico, the water temperatures are much cooler, and hinder the development of hurricanes. An example of this was in 1997 when Hurricane Linda became a monster Category Five storm in the Eastern Pacific. Back then, there was talk of the storm impacting Southern California, and there was file footage of the 1939 storm on television. However, the storm dissipated well to the South of San Diego.
Impacts from Eastern Pacific storms in the United States is usually in the form of high surf along the California coast, and soaking rains for the Southwestern United States. However, arid conditions over the Desert Southwest can take the moisture out of those remnants. Hurricane Nora was an example of this, and was given the nickname, Hurricane No Rain.
The past several weeks have been a period of unsettled weather that has been good news for the Garden State, which was dealing with moderate drought for much of the first four months of 2012. However, recent forecasts, which called for more in the way of rain and severe weather have been off the mark.
First, there was the late season Nor’easter towards the end of April that was supposed to bring a good deal of rainfall to much of New Jersey. Flood watches were issued by the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly ahead of what was supposed to be anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. However, actual rainfall amounts fell well short of that.
While the storm did bring much needed rainfall, it brought about an inch less than expected in many locations. Move forward to late last week. A storm system was forecast to bring strong to severe thunderstorms into New Jersey as well as other parts of the Mid-Atlantic. The Weather Channel and Accu-Weather at WABC in New York did indicate storms would be significant, and could be the first significant outbreak of the year. The National Weather Service noted the possibility in a Hazardous Weather Outlook, but by Friday, the storms didn’t materialize in Central Jersey, and much of the inclement weather stayed to the south.
The next day, Saturday, the Accu-Weather forecast called for clouds in the early part of the day, but clearing in time for the appearance of the much anticipated Super Moon. Unfortunately, the clouds had other ideas, and stayed around not only past the scheduled 11:34 PM emergence of the largest moon of the year, but also well into Sunday. Furthermore, the forecasts for part of this week has some issues. Although the mid-week forecast was fairly accurate, it did indicate more significant rain on Wednesday, which did not happen.
I know that I’m being critical here, and understand that forecasts are not always perfect. I probably noticed these issues more than I usually would because I was anticipating the severe weather on Friday, and the Super Moon on Saturday. So, these forecasts had me scratching my head a bit, and I wanted to write about it.