04.26.12

A Look Back On Last Weekend’s Nor’easter

Posted in Commentary, GWC News at 1:26 pm by gmachos

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.

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