Here is footage of the threatening skies over the Raritan Center section of Edison, New Jersey as showers and storms approached from the northwest on the afternoon and evening of June 16th. On this day, there were several rounds of rain. During the late afternoon, skies grew threatening again as a wave of storms moved in from Northeastern Pennsylvania and Northwestern Jersey. The high temperature was only 83 degrees, but the dew point peaked at 77, which created a very tropical environment for heavy rains to develop. The bulk of the heavy rains stayed away as GWC in South Plainfield only received 0.12 inches of rain. However, further south and east along the Route 35 and 36 corridors, there were torrential downpours.
Here is car cam footage of a drive through a sun shower in Metuchen and Edison, New Jersey on the afternoon of June 16th. On this day, the high temperature was only 83 degrees, but the air was very tropical with a peak dew point of 77 degrees. The result was several rounds of rain during the day including this late afternoon sun shower over Northern Middlesex County.
Here is a time lapse video of weather conditions at Union Beach, New Jersey on the evening of June 15, 2015. On this day, skies were mostly cloudy after some more rain fell during the course of the day. High temperature topped out at 87 degrees at GWC with a peak dew point of 77 degrees. Total rainfall was a little more than a tenth of an inch.
Second Storm of Atlantic Season Picks Up Some Strength as it Closes in on Lone Star State
Since last week, models had been indicating that a tropical system was going to form in the Gulf. Within the past 36 hours, that forecast has become reality as Tropical Storm Bill, the second named storm of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season has developed. Currently, the storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour after Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigated the storm earlier on Tuesday morning. Bill emerged from Invest 91L, which was classified over the weekend as it dumped heavy rains on Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula.
As of the 7:00 AM CDT Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Bill was centered about 30 miles to the East-Southeast of Port O’Connor Texas. Minimum central pressure is at 997 millibars or 29.44 inches of Hg. Tropical Storm force winds extend some 150 miles from the center of circulation. Reports out of Matagorda Bay have wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour. With the storm moving in over the mid-Texas coast, much of the brunt of this storm will be felt in the Galveston and Houston areas, which are in Bill’s northeast quadrant. Those areas are expected to receive 8 to 12 inches of rain along with winds near 60 miles per hour.
Currently, there is a Tropical Storm Warning out for the Texas Coast from Baffin Bay to High Island, Texas. The storm is expected to spread 4 to 8 inches of rain across Eastern Texas and Eastern Oklahoma with some isolated areas receiving 12 inches while portions of Western Arkansas and Southern Missouri are expected to receive anywhere from 2 to 4 inches. Storm surge of 2 to 4 feet is anticipated along the Texas Coast while the Western Louisiana coast is expected to get 1 to 2 feet of surge. As with many landfalling tropical systems, tornadoes are also a threat.
The big story with Bill will be the rain. While there will be some wind, heavy surf, and some surge, it won’t be as bad as the rain. Keep in mind, Texas is still recovering from month long rains in May. The storm is bringing in tremendous amounts of moisture, and as the system comes ashore, this abundant moisture is expected to push to the north and east. So, much of the eastern half of the country will be seeing a good deal of rainfall from what is left of Bill. Here in New Jersey, where there has already been some heavy rain on Sunday and Monday, showers and storms are also expected on Tuesday, Wednesday night into Thursday and possibly this weekend as Bill’s remnants move closer. Portions of the Garden State could end up with between 2 to 4 inches of rain before the week is out.
Sunday Night and Monday Afternoon’s Rain Are Only the Beginning for Jersey
With the tropical feel to the atmosphere over New Jersey for much of the last week, something had to give, and it has started to. On Sunday night, showers and storms developed over GWC in South Plainfield, and brought about 0.40 inches of rain. Skies remained cloudy throughout Monday morning and afternoon before another round of showers and storms pushed through much of Middlesex County as well as Union County and Northeastern Jersey before crushing Staten Island. Only about 0.12 inches of rain fell in the rain gauge at GWC, but more could be on the way.
Heavy rains are not only in the forecast for Monday night, but also for all of Tuesday and Thursday. Much of the nation will be in the grips of torrential rain, especially in places that don’t need it like Texas. There has been an abundance of moisture coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center has been watching a promising disturbance in the Western Gulf, which has already brought plenty of rain to the Yucatan and Belize. This disturbance is expected to remain somewhat weak, but still develop into the Atlantic Basin’s second named storm of the year, Bill. Probability of that happening is about 90 percent over the next 2 to 5 days.
This tropical feature is expected to turn to the north and east after moving into coastal Texas, and provide a tremendous moisture feed to the rest of the country. The National Weather Service calls for a 60 percent chance of rain for South Plainfield on Monday night, a 50 percent chance for all of Tuesday, and a 30 percent chance on Thursday. Temperatures are expected to range from the upper 70s to upper 80s this week. The NWS in Mount Holly has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Central Jersey, and is calling for locally heavy rainfall with these storms, and in some cases some gusty or damaging winds. Some areas could see between 2 to 4 inches.
Here is storm footage of a downpour that developed during the night at GWC in South Plainfield on June 14th. It was another muggy mid-June day in Central Jersey with the high temperature reaching 85 degrees while the dew point again peaked above 70 degrees. The result was another downpour that produced two tenths of an inch of rain.
Temperatures Reach 90 Degrees for First Time This Year at GWC on Thursday; Dew Points Downright Tropical
Summer unofficially began on Memorial Day Weekend. The meteorological start to summer was June 1st, and the summer solstice is not for another week, but if you were outside around the Garden State over the past couple days, you would have thought that the calendar read August instead of June. Thursday and Friday were not only the warmest two days so far in 2015, but combined with dew points that were more typical of the Amazon Jungle, conditions were very oppressive. Heat index values both days were up to 100 degrees at GWC in South Plainfield while the actual temperature topped out at 90 degrees for the first time this year.
The humidity has been the story at times during the spring. Over the past month there have been a handful of occasions were dew points have soared not just to uncomfortable levels, but to tropical rain forest levels. On Thursday, the dew point peaked at 77 degrees. Friday’s maximum dew point then topped that with a 78 during the afternoon. Before a cold front, which was responsible for unleashing severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and even tornadoes in parts of Eastern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York, passed through on Saturday morning, the dew point got up to 73 degrees.
The heat and humidity also produced unhealthy air quality conditions. The National Weather Service had issued an Air Quality Alert as early as Wednesday, and it was well warranted. The stagnant air caused a tremendous haze to develop over Central Jersey on Thursday and Friday. Nearby places such as the Watchung Mountains were shrouded in haze while cloud patterns were somewhat hard to detect. Some areas around New Jersey did receive some pop-up showers and storms, especially on Friday. During the mid-afternoon, a thunderstorm cell developed over Hunterdon County, and moved northeastward through Northern Somerset and Morris counties. Around 5:00 PM, another thunderstorm complex, which was more potent, moved through Warren County and into Sussex County. By dinner time, another thunderstorm developed near West Milford, and traveled into Sussex County as well.
Severe storms also produced a potent tornado near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Thankfully, a sea breeze developed along the Jersey Shore, and stabilized the air enough over Middlesex County to repel the showers and storms. The reason for the tropical air was a southwesterly flow around high pressure, which anchored offshore. The cold front that came through this morning should give a brief respite from the torrid weather, but the heat and humidity as well as some storms are expected to return for early next week. The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly indicates that there could be heavy rain on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. New Jersey is not alone. As a matter of fact, forecast models are indicating that much of the country, especially Texas, is going to see significant rain over the next week.
Here is car cam footage of a drive through East Brunswick during a nighttime downpour on June 8, 2015. On this day, the high temperature was 83 degrees with a peak dew point of 71. The tropical moisture resulted in an early evening downpour that produced a third of an inch of rain.
Here is a time lapse video of a thunderstorm moving in toward Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick during the evening of June 8, 2015. On this day, the high temperature at GWC in South Plainfield was 83 degrees with a peak dew point of 71. The tropical moisture resulted in an early evening downpour that produced a third of an inch of rain.
Not Even a Month into the Season and There Have Been Two Storms Already
Although the Atlantic gets the honor for having the earliest start to the season in 2015, the Eastern Pacific is already off to a solid start. Just three weeks into the season, and there have been not only two named storms, but also two major hurricanes. Taking advantage of the very warm waters off the Mexican and Central American coastlines, which may be heated up even more thanks to the emergence of El Nino, both Andres and Blanca rapidly intensified to major hurricanes with Category Four strength winds. The Eastern Pacific season usually starts before the Atlantic since the EPAC officially starts on May 15th while the Atlantic begins on June 1st.
This year, however, the tables have been turned. Despite less than enthusiastic forecasts for activity in the Atlantic Basin, it got the jump on the Eastern Pacific when Tropical Storm Ana formed off the Southeastern United States near the Bahamas on May 7th. Since then, the Atlantic has gone dormant, which is the usual pattern at the beginning of the season since water temperatures are still quite cool. It took almost two weeks for the first system to form in the Eastern Pacific, but the basin sure made up for lost time when Andres rapidly strengthened to have 145 mph winds during the early morning of June 1st. Andres soon moved into cooler waters and eventually dissipated three days later without impacting land.
Blanca followed suit as it began churning as a tropical low while Andres was taking center stage. Since Andres’ demise though, Blanca has made a name for herself. On the evening of Wednesday, June 3rd, Blanca had rapidly intensified to have 140 mph winds, and an estimated minimum central pressure of 943 millibars or 27.85 inches of Hg. Since then Blanca has gone through some ups and downs in intensity. The storm had weakened to have only 90 mph winds as of 6:00 PM MDT on Friday evening. However, by Saturday afternoon, Blanca had re-energized to have winds of 130 miles per hour, and a minimum central pressure of 943 millibars or 27.85 inches of Hg again. The storm is now taking aim at Baja California.
Within the past few hours, Blanca’s winds have slackened off as it has moved into cooler waters and its overall cloud signature has become asymmetrical. As of the 9:00 PM MDT Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Blanca is still a major hurricane with 120 miles per hour and a minimum central pressure of 952 millibars, or 28.12 inches of Hg. The storm is moving to the North-Northwest at 10 miles per hour. A Hurricane Watch is currently in effect for the coast of Baja California from Cabo San Lucas to Santa Fe. A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect from Loreto to Puerto San Andresito, including Cabo San Lucas. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from North of Puerto San Andresito to Punta Abreojos and from North of Loreto to Mulege.
Hurricane force winds are possible within the watch area by Sunday evening, and rainfall amounts expect to be between 6 to 10 inches with isolated areas receiving as much as 15 inches. Swells from Blanca are already affecting the Southwestern Mexico, Baja California, and Gulf of California, and could produce life threatening surf and rip currents. This is the fourth straight season that there has been two storms in the Eastern Pacific by the end of the first week of June. However, the previous three seasons (2012, 2013, and 2014), the EPAC has started off with a hurricane and a tropical storm. Nothing like the two Category Four Hurricanes we have seen so far here.
The 2014 season in the EPAC was quite active with 21 depressions, 20 named storms, 14 hurricanes, and 9 major hurricanes. Two years ago in 2013, there were 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and one major hurricane. Three seasons ago in 2012, there were 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. Keep in mind, these seasons were not El Nino years, and the start in the Eastern Pacific this year is a strong indication that the El Nino is emerging. So, this is only the beginning.