09.06.14

GWC Slideshow–September 5, 2014–Cumulus Clouds

Posted in GWC News, YouTube Videos, GWC Slideshows at 4:49 am by gmachos

Here is a slideshow from photos taken of the cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds that developed on Friday afternoon in South Plainfield and North Edison. On this day, the high temperature reached 87 degrees at GWC in South Plainfield. Coupled with a dew point peaking at 76, the heat and humidity produced a top heat index of 96 degrees. A quick thundershower developed around 6:00 PM, and brought a trace of rain to the area.

09.05.14

Dolly Comes Ashore in Mexico

Posted in Storm Track, Storm Facts, Tracking the Tropics at 11:06 am by gmachos

Fourth Named Storm of 2014 Atlantic Season Becomes First Not to Become a Hurricane

Earlier this week, the month of September got off to a good start in the Atlantic Tropics with the formation of the fourth named storm of the season.  After a very quiet August, which saw only two named storms and hurricanes form in Bertha and Cristobal, the Atlantic tried to show signs of life with a new named storms in the first few days of September.  Models had been hinting for a few weeks that something was going to develop in the Gulf of Mexico, and finally it did when a disturbance in the Northwestern Caribbean moved over the Yucatan into the very warm waters of the Bay of Campeche.

While it didn’t have much room or time to develop due to its close proximity to land, this disturbance managed to become the fifth tropical depression in the Atlantic this season during the late afternoon on Labor Day.  Located some 255 miles to the Southeast of Tuxpan on the east coast of Mexico, the depression was still very weak with maximum sustained winds at only 30 miles per hour.  Within 9 hours though, Dolly was born as Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft found that it had flight level winds that were extrapolated to the surface to be above tropical storm force in the early morning of September 2nd.

Later in the morning on Tuesday, Dolly strengthened to its peak intensity of 50 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 65 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1005 millibars, or 29.68 inches of Hg.  Despite reforming to the south, and having a bit more real estate to work with, Dolly only managed to stay at this peak intensity for six hours before pressures began to rise again. Less than 10 hours later, the storm was beginning to come ashore near Tampico, Mexico.   By the morning of September 3rd, Dolly was downgraded to a depression, and three hours later, it had diminished to a remnant low.  Nevertheless, the former storm still packed a punch with heavy rains in Eastern Mexico that ranged from 5 to 10 inches with some localized rainfall amounts as high as 15 inches.

The heavy rains, caused by the orographic lifting of the tropical moisture from Dolly up the mountains of Eastern Mexico, triggered life threatening flash floods and mudslides across that region.  Dolly was the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season not to become a hurricane.  The three previous storms:  Arthur, Bertha, and Cristobal were at least a Category One storm with Arthur strengthening to Category Two.  With the formation of Dolly, there have been 5 depressions, 4 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and no major hurricanes so far in the Atlantic Basin this year.  The statistical peak of the season (September 10th) is five days away.  There hasn’t been a major hurricane in the Atlantic in nearly two years (September 11, 2012–Hurricane Michael), and it has been over 3,200 days since a landfalling major hurricane in the United States (Hurricane Wilma in October 2005).

Still Looking at El Niño Developing in Fall and Early Winter

Posted in GWC News, Eastern Pacific, Central Pacific, Tracking the Tropics, Model Forecasts at 10:34 am by gmachos

Forecasts Indicate a 65 Percent Chance of Weak Episode Developing

An El Niño event is coming.  Many have wondered when it is coming, but despite the delay, an ENSO episode is on the way.  Although forecasts from earlier this year calling for a strong one have diminished, there is still a very good chance of one occurring by the end of this year, or early next year.  According to NOAA’s El Niño portal, the National Weather Service suggests that there is still a 65 percent chance of an ENSO episode developing in the fall or the early winter.  Expectations of intensity have been reduced though to just a weak episode.

Right now, the ENSO alert status on the Climate Prediction Center web site is at El Niño Watch, which is “issued when conditions are favorable for the development of El Niño conditions within the next six months.”  The El Niño and Southern Oscillation is a global weather pattern shift that occurs when sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific become higher than normal, and gradually migrate across the Pacific Ocean.  The effects of this weather shift is felt all around the globe.  Some of these effects may have positive or negative impacts depending upon where you live.

For example, an El Niño episode could result in increased rainfall in California, which would be a welcome sight.  Currently, California is experiencing one of its worst droughts in history.  So significant rainfall would be very beneficial.  However, with this year’s El Niño forecasted to be weak, there may be a limit to how much rain California would get.  ENSO also has an impact on the Indian Monsoon weather pattern, but it is a bit more complicated.  The Indian Monsoon is not rainfall, but a large scale weather pattern that affects the subcontinent.  It occurs between June and September, and is responsible for the majority of India’s yearly rainfall.  For the most part, El Niño generally suppresses monsoonal rainfall.

Other impacts across the United States includes drier conditions in the Ohio Valley, less than normal rainfall across Hawaii from late fall to early spring, and somewhat drier conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.  Another key impact is on the tropics.  Warmer sea surface temperatures in the Pacific usually mean more activity in the Eastern, Central, and Western Pacific basins.  So far this year, there has been quite a bit of activity in the EPAC with 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes including 3 Category Four storms and one Category Five system.  The Central Pacific has seen four storms in the area of Hawaii, and the Western Pacific has experienced a number of powerful typhoons.

Meanwhile, activity in the Tropical Atlantic has been lacking.  There have only been 5 tropical depressions, 4 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and no major hurricanes so far in 2014, and we are five days away from the statistical peak of the season.  However, the lack of activity in the Atlantic is not because of ENSO.  Instead, it is because of dry air over a vast portion of the Atlantic Basin.  Normally, when an El Niño occurs, it creates hostile upper level wind conditions in the Atlantic, which prevents tremendous thunderstorms from developing, which is a critical ingredient for tropical storm and hurricane formation.

Hot and Sultry Weather Starts September in NJ

Posted in GWC News at 9:48 am by gmachos

Start of Meteorological Fall in Garden State More Like Beginning of Summer

After the coolest and driest month of August in the last four years, New Jersey has begun the month of September with a return of heat and humidity.  The recent increase in temperatures and moisture began late last week when temperatures got into the upper 80s to low 90s during the weekend.  Sunday marked only the second time in August 2014 that the temperature climbed to 90 degrees at GWC in South Plainfield.  The previous time was on August 6th.

Combined with a dew point of 76, the heat index rose to 102 degrees in South Plainfield on Sunday afternoon.  Meanwhile, at Citi Field in Queens, the temperature topped out at 88 degrees before storms came through just after the Mets game against Philadelphia ended.  Following the development of showers and thunderstorms on Sunday night, the mercury and humidity levels dropped just a little bit on Labor Day with the high peaking at 89 degrees in town while it reached 87 over at Watchung Lake in Somerset County.  The dew point at GWC was still high at 75 for a peak heat index of 98.

Showers and storms were more isolated on Monday, but looked to be more widespread on Tuesday with more heat and humidity.   During a trip to High Point in Sussex County, showers developed to the southwest near the Delaware Water Gap, and moved to the northeast just to the south of High Point Monument before crossing the border into Orange County, New York.  The high temperature at High Point was 85 degrees.  Closer to sea level at Sussex County Airport, the mercury climbed to 91 degrees.  Back home at GWC in South Plainfield, the high temperature on Tuesday was 91 as well with a peak dew point of 76 for a top heat index of 101.

The heat and humidity didn’t slow down the players at Tuesday’s football scrimmage between Sayreville and South Plainfield at Frank R. Jost Memorial Field.  The two squads went at it for two hours in the late summer mugginess.  Sayreville, one of the top programs in Middlesex County jumped out to a 21-6 lead, and eventually won 42-20.  There was a threat of showers and storms as an impressive line of thunderstorms moved east from Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, but the heavy weather stayed to the north and south of the Central Jersey area bringing rough weather only to Northwest Jersey and Southern Ocean County on Tuesday night.

A cold front then moved through, and temperature and humidity levels dropped to slightly more comfortable levels on Wednesday.  It was nice and comfortable enough to get a long walk, or run in during the day. The high temperature in South Plainfield was 85 degrees with a heat index of 90.  It was still pretty tough weather to put on the pads and play football in like Middlesex and Governor Livingston did in their scrimmage on Wednesday afternoon in Berkeley Heights where the temperature peaked at 87 degrees around game time.  Governor Livingston went on to take a 21-0 halftime lead en route to a 24-7 victory.  Warmer and more humid conditions began to return on Thursday with the high temperature rising a couple of degrees to 87 at GWC with a peak dew point of 70 for a heat index of 90.  

The high pressure that has been controlling our weather and providing more comfortable conditions the past two days will begin to move offshore on Friday.  As a result, the Central Jersey area will fall under a more southwesterly flow, which will pull up more warm and humid air from the Southeastern United States.  Temperatures and humidity levels will be on the rise again for both Friday and Saturday with temperatures in the upper 80s to around 90 before another round of storms roll through on Saturday afternoon and evening ahead of a cold front.  Some of the storms could reach strong to severe limits.  Once the front moves through, temperatures will drop off significantly with highs in the mid 70s for most of next week.  A more significant cool down is being hinted at for next weekend.

09.03.14

GWC Weather Footage–September 2, 2014–Shower Stays South of High Point

Posted in GWC News, Storm Footage, YouTube Videos at 2:15 pm by gmachos

Here is video footage of weather conditions at High Point Monument on the first Tuesday in September 2014. On this day, heat and humidity were on the rise, and they created a good deal of instability and cumulus clouds during the afternoon at the highest elevation in New Jersey. A shower developed to the southwest near the Delaware River Gap, and scooted to the east just south of the High Point Monument. Hot and humid weather that began over the weekend continued in New Jersey on Tuesday. High temperature at GWC in South Plainfield was 91 degrees with a dew point of 75 for a heat index of 101. Up in Northwest Jersey, the mercury climbed to 85 at High Point and 91 at Sussex Airport.

GWC Time Lapse–September 2, 2014–Shower Stays South of High Point

Posted in GWC News, YouTube Videos, GWC Web Cam, GWC Time Lapse at 2:08 pm by gmachos

Here is a time lapse video of weather conditions at High Point Monument on the first Tuesday in September 2014. On this day, heat and humidity were on the rise, and they created a good deal of instability and cumulus clouds during the afternoon at the highest elevation in New Jersey. A shower developed to the southwest near the Delaware River Gap, and scooted to the east just south of the High Point Monument. Hot and humid weather that began over the weekend continued in New Jersey on Tuesday. High temperature at GWC in South Plainfield was 91 degrees with a dew point of 75 for a heat index of 101. Up in Northwest Jersey, the mercury climbed to 85 at High Point and 91 at Sussex Airport.

GWC Slideshow–September 2, 2014–Trip to High Point

Posted in GWC News, YouTube Videos, GWC Slideshows at 2:03 pm by gmachos

Here is a slideshow from photos taken during another trip to High Point on the first Tuesday in September 2014. On this day, heat and humidity were on the rise, and they created a good deal of instability and cumulus clouds during the afternoon at the highest elevation in New Jersey. A shower developed to the southwest near the Delaware River Gap, and scooted to the east just south of the High Point Monument. Hot and humid weather that began over the weekend continued in New Jersey on Tuesday. High temperature at GWC in South Plainfield was 91 degrees with a dew point of 75 for a heat index of 101. Up in Northwest Jersey, the mercury climbed to 85 at High Point and 91 at Sussex Airport.

09.02.14

GWC Slideshow–September 1, 2014–Labor Day Afternoon at Watchung Lake

Posted in GWC News, YouTube Videos, GWC Slideshows at 10:07 am by gmachos

Here is a slideshow from photos taken of weather conditions at Watchung Lake on Labor Day Afternoon 2014. On this day, there were plenty of cumulus clouds, but no showers or storms. It remained warm and humid, but not as much as it was the day before. High temperature at Watchung Lake was 88 while at GWC in South Plainfield, the mercury climbed to 89 degrees with a peak dew point of 75 for a top heat index of 98 degrees.

GWC Time Lapse–September 1, 2014–Labor Day Afternoon at Watchung Lake

Posted in GWC News, YouTube Videos, GWC Time Lapse at 8:29 am by gmachos

Here is a time lapse video of weather conditions at Watchung Lake on Labor Day Afternoon 2014. On this day, there were plenty of cumulus clouds, but no showers or storms. It remained warm and humid, but not as much as it was the day before. High temperature at Watchung Lake was 88 while at GWC in South Plainfield, the mercury climbed to 89 degrees with a peak dew point of 75 for a top heat index of 98 degrees.

09.01.14

GWC Storm Footage–August 31, 2014–Thunderstorm in Queens

Posted in GWC News, Storm Footage, YouTube Videos, GWC Video Report, GWC Web Cam at 4:15 pm by gmachos

Here is storm footage of a thunderstorm that moved through the Corona Park and Flushing sections of Queens near Citi Field and LaGuardia Airport on the last Sunday of August 2014. The heat and humidity returned on this day with a high of 88 degrees in Flushing and 90 at GWC in South Plainfield with a peak dew point of 76 and a heat index of 102 before the storms came through.

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