Atlantic Tropics Heating Up

Posted in Model Forecasts, Storm Facts, Storm Preparation, Tracking the Tropi at 10:14 pm by gmachos

2nd Named Storm and 3rd Depression Emerge

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is a little more than a month old, and the Fourth of July holiday has just passed. Still, until a few days ago, the basin had only had one named storm develop, which put it behind last year’s pace, but still was a little more than average. Usually a named storm develops once every two years by July 1st.

By this time a year ago, the Atlantic had three named storms by the beginning of July. Two years ago, there were four named storms by July 1st. So even though, this was the third consecutive year, the Atlantic produced a named storm by the beginning of July, conditions are behind the pace of recent times. This week, however, activity began to pick to up in the Atlantic.

First, a tiny storm system drew attention in the Central and Western Atlantic. Forecasters watching it at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida didn’t give it much of a positive prognosis at the outset. In the first advisory issued by the NHC on Thursday morning, July 5th, the forecast called for then Tropical Depression Two to dissipate into an open wave by the end of this weekend.

Less than 24 hours later, at 5:00 AM EDT on Friday, July 6th, Beryl became not only the 2nd named storm of the 2018 Atlantic season, but also the first hurricane despite only having hurricane force winds extend only 10 miles and tropical storm force winds reach out about 35 miles. Beryl strengthened to have winds slightly stronger than minimal hurricane force at 80 miles per hour with gusts up to 100 miles per hour. The diameter of its eye was only 5 nautical miles, and its minimal pressure fell to only 994 millibars, or 29.38 inches of Hg.

Thirty hours later though, Beryl waned again, and dwindled to a tropical storm with only 65 miles per hour. The storm continued to degrade as Saturday afternoon progressed in the Western Atlantic. As of the 8:00 PM EDT Advisory on Saturday evening (July 7th), Beryl’s maximum sustained winds with 50 miles per hour with its pressure rising to 1003 millibars, or 29.62 inches of Hg. Wind gusts have fallen off to 65 miles per hour.

Tropical Storm Beryl is currently located some 550 miles to the East-Southeast of the Lesser Antilles. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbuda, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten. Interests in the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic should closely monitor the progress of Beryl.

The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center on Beryl calls for it to head to the West-Northwest through the center of the Lesser Antilles, and then head just to the south of Puerto Rico. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last September, and have around 10,000 residents still without power, remains within the NHC’s cone of uncertainty. The intensity forecast indicates Beryl will regress to a depression within 48 hours.

Meanwhile, a new system has garnered attention over the last 24 hours. The third depression of the season formed some 230 miles to the South-Southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina as of 5:00 PM EDT on Friday afternoon, July 6th. Winds remained sustained at only 30 miles per hour during the first 24 hours of TD #3’s life, but increased to 35 miles per hour by 5:00 PM on Saturday afternoon. Pressure is still quite high at 1014 millibars, or 29.95 inches.

Nevertheless, Tropical Depression Three is anticipated to intensify to a Tropical Storm either late Saturday night or on Sunday. Interests along the North Carolina coast should monitor the future progress of this depression. The forecast indicates that TD #3 will hover off the Carolinas until Monday afternoon as a tropical storm before heading to the Northeast as a hurricane by the middle of Tuesday afternoon, July 10th. Winds are forecast to peak at 75 miles per hour before beginning to weaken within 4 to 5 days.


The Blast Furnace Fires Up for Pre-July 4th Weekend in New Jersey

Posted in General, GWC News, GWC Severe Weather at 4:10 pm by gmachos

Peak of Prolonged Heatwave Has Begun and to Last Thru Monday

Summer has begun in earnest around the Garden State. The graduations are over. Fourth of July is just days away, and the first major heat wave of the season is underway with a ferocity that has not been seen for a few years.

Early last week, conditions were mostly dry, breezy, and pleasant around New Jersey, but by midweek, showers and thunderstorms ushered in a ridge of high pressure and a southwesterly flow of air that has pushed the thermometer upward, and will keep it there at least through this week

Starting on Thursday, temperatures began to creep into the 90s, and by early Sunday afternoon, the mercury was pushing hard toward the century mark. The National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly, New Jersey had issued an Excessive Heat Watch on Friday, which it upgraded to a warning on Saturday.

The warning came into effect at 8:00 AM Sunday morning, and is expected to continue until 8:00 PM on Monday evening. Temperatures during this period arre expected to reach well into the upper 90s and perhaps 100 while heat indices will probably range between 105 and 110 with some isolated areas going even higher than that.

This torrid weather stretch is reminiscent of the heat and humidity experienced during the early summers of 2011 and 2012. Those two years were part of an extraordinary period of extreme weather in New Jersey that began with a series of severe storms in September 2010, continued with the Holiday Blizzard of December 2010 and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, and finished with Superstorm Sandy in late October 2012.

Both the early summers of 2011 and 2012 were remarkable for their tremendous heat and humidity. In July 2011, the Weather Station at Greg’s Weather Center recorded a maximum heat index of just under 121 degrees. The following year, in July 2012, the heat index peaked at 117 degrees. July 2013 even had some similar heat with a top heat index of 117 also that month. During the July 2011 heat wave, the mercury peaked at just under 104 degrees at GWC. The following year, in July 2012, the temperature peaked at a little over 102 degrees.

While the heat index and temperature are not nearly as close to where they were during those two years, the mercury is still forecasted to reach about 100 degrees. Currently at GWC in South Plainfield, the temperature is 98 degrees, and it feels as hot as 106 outside. Dew point is quite high at 69 degrees while there is only a light wind out of the Southwest at about 5 miles per hour.

If you are looking for any relief, there might not be any at least until the latter portion of the week here in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. High on Monday is expected to be about the same while Tuesday will be only a bit cooler at 94 degrees. The July 4th holiday may have some fireworks courtesy of Mother Nature with a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms with a high of 91. Thursday and Friday’s forecast shows an increased chance of rain and thunderstorms with temperatures dropping into the upper 80s.

However, that forecast may be just a bit more optimistic. Larry Cosgrove of WeatherAmerica indicated that the cold front that is forecast to come in around the period of July 6th to July 8th, may not bring the relief that the East Coast will be looking for. Areas further to the north such as those above Interstate 70, but it will not bring the kind of relief we will be looking for. Temperature are also expected to rebound back into the lower 90s by July 10th and 11th according to long term forecasts provided by The Weather Channel.

On a personal note, I went out for a walk twice yesterday as well as a couple on Friday. While conditions were getting uncomfortable then, both days were more pleasant than what is being experienced outside GWC on Sunday. I walked for just under an hour around my neighborhood and several other neighborhoods nearby. It was brutal outside. True, I went out for a walk around 11:30 on Sunday morning, but I went out at around the same times on Friday and Saturday, and it was more comfortable, or bearable depending how you would like to look at it.

I believe that this heatwave could be part of another prolonged period of extreme weather in New Jersey similar to that from September 2010 to November 2012. This new period had its origins back in the latter stages of this past winter with the four strong Nor’easters that rocked the Garden State throughout March and early April. Then, there was the period of 9 weeks from mid-April to a couple weeks ago, where there were rainy conditions during all or part of the weekend. There was also an outbreak of severe weather in New Jersey on Tuesday, May 15th that brought high winds and heavy rains.

Conditions have also noticeably gone from Winter to Summer without much of a Spring here in New Jersey. Whether or not these severe events become part of an actual prolonged period of rough weather for the Garden State true remains to be seen. The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season is only a month old, but by this time last year, the region had already seen at least three named storms come and go while this year there has only been one. Nevertheless, we are still very far from the climatological peak of the hurricane season, which usually occurs in early to mid-September with the statistical peak falling on September 10th.

One thing is for sure, and that is this week’s heat could be the most severe New Jersey has seen in about 5 years.