Weather Cranking Up Along The Jersey Shore As Coastal Low Creeps Closer

Good evening everyone. I made another trip down to both Sandy Hook and Sea Bright this afternoon, and conditions there were much different than they were a couple days ago during my last visit. It was finally starting to look like the weather was cranking up along the Jersey Shore.

Arriving at Sandy Hook first, I noticed right away, the stiff breeze out of the East off the ocean. It was a persistent wind resulting from the low offshore, and the high pressure area positioned over Maine. With both combining to form a tight pressure gradient, and easterly fetch, the low and the high were creating very rough seas. I had a feeling things were going to be tumultuous here when I saw that there were small whitecaps in one of the marinas along Route 35 in Old Bridge.

A few miles offshore, winds are light as the friction of trees and buildings was lessening the effect that the wind had at the coast. I didn’t really get too close to the water since there was overwash on the beach, and the flooding make it a bit difficult to get right to where the water came up against the shore. Arriving after 1:00 PM, I missed high tide when the waves and sea got very far up the beach. Thankfully, the tide retreated, but it still was ferocious. You could see the sea was raging as you drove across the bridge from nearby Highlands.

The wind was so strong and persistent that it was very hard to videotape what was going on. I still managed to do it, but the combination of shooting the video during the day, and the constant battering from the winds that were at least 35 to 40 miles per hour, affected my ability to shoot really good video. Nevertheless, what I captured on video from both Sandy Hook and Sea Bright was great. I hope to have the video up soon.

I was at Sandy Hook for about 20 minutes. The entire time, shirt was flapping in the breeze. I gained a great appreciation of what tropical storms and hurricanes can do along the coast. This was just an onshore flow from the combined forces of a weak low, and high pressure to the north. Imagine if there was a significant tropical storm, or hurricane offshore. Those who chase these storms regularly definitely endure a lot to get the footage you see on television, or the internet. Next, I got into the car, and traveled down to Sea Bright.

At Sea Bright, I was able to get much closer to the water, and felt more of the fury from this low than I did at Sandy Hook. In addition, the seas seemed to be getting rougher. The wave heights and periods were higher and faster, and the wind was just as strong. Areas of rock that were more pronounced on Tuesday were under more water now. The tide at Sea Bright came further up the beach than at Sandy Hook. I spent another 20 minutes there taking in all the sights and sounds. It was quite an experience for me since I’ve never been down to the beach in rough weather like that.

The National Weather Service in Mount Holly has all kinds of warnings and advisories out right now. It has extended the Wind Advisory until early Friday morning as winds in excess of 45 miles per hour are expected along the coast and in nearby inland locations. Areas further inland can still expect winds of 15 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 miles per hour. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Mercer County in New Jersey along with adjacent counties in Eastern Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware.

Closer to the coast, the Coastal Flood Advisory has been cancelled, but it was noted that the tide levels were higher than usual thanks to the low. A high risk for rip currents still remains. It is very dangerous surf that we’re dealing with. I don’t think it would be a good idea at all to get even close to the water right now. High surf advisory is in effect until Friday evening.

Skies have gotten progressively more overcast as the day moved along. Light to moderate rain is expected to begin over much of the Central Jersey region with steadier rains coming later tonight, and into tomorrow morning. An isolated thunderstorm is possible. About three quarters of an inch, to an inch and a quarter are expected through Friday. More on the trip to the Jersey Shore in the Hurricaneville/GWC Audio Report.