Hermine Looks to be More of a Threat for Coastal New Jersey

Models Having Tough Time With Storm Now That It Is Non-Tropical

Greg’s Weather Center and Hurricaneville continue to watch what is now Non-Tropical Cyclone Hermine as it meanders off the Mid-Atlantic coast less than 250 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey. All of the coastal counties in New Jersey remain under a Tropical Storm Warning and could still see significant coastal flooding from this storm.

Currently, Post-Tropical Storm Hermine is located some 240 miles to the East-Southeast of Ocean City, Maryland, or about 275 miles East of Norfolk, Virginia so the center of circulation is still to the south of New Jersey. The storm is still moving pretty good to the East-Northeast at 13 miles per hour, but expect that motion to slow down during the day on Sunday as it begins to loop back toward the coast. Maximum sustained winds have decreased slightly to 65 miles per hour with gusts over hurricane force. Pressure is at 998 millibars or 29.47 inches of Hg.

A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the East Coast of the United States from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina including Chesapeake Bay from Drum Point southward and also Delaware Bay. A Tropical Storm Watch also remains in effect from east of Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Middlesex County, New Jersey, the home of GWC and Hurricaneville is under a Tropical Storm Warning.

There has been a lot of variability or differences in the forecast model tracks for Hermine. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that Hermine is now a non-tropical system. You may wonder what does that mean. Well, what it means is that the storm is now a cold core system with cold air at the center of the low. Cold core lows are basically what we all see during the fall and winter months, i.e. Coastal lows or Nor’easters.

If you recall earlier last weekend and earlier this week, the models struggled with the track and intensity of what eventually became Hermine because they tend to have problems with developing systems. They also have similar issues with storms that transition from tropical to non-tropical systems. So, in a nutshell, the models are all over the place when it comes to Hermine’s track , and what type of storm it will be over the next few days.

One good thing that has happened with Hermine during the late afternoon and evening hours is that the storm went a little further to the east than expected, and that is good news for those further inland. Hermine is expected to loop back to the west, but because it jogged a bit more to the east, it is unlikely at this point that the storm will come ashore along the Jersey coast. However, let’s not let our guard down, and be prepared for anything since again the models are struggling with this system.

According to Meteorologist Joe Cioffi, the coastal areas are still going to receive the brunt of the impacts from the storm. Most significant impact will be coastal flooding. The National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly indicates that anywhere in New Jersey east of the Garden State Parkway will see significant coastal flooding from a storm surge anywhere from 3 to 5 feet above normal. In addition, as the storm makes its closest approach to New Jersey on Sunday evening into Labor Day morning there will be an increase in rain and wind.

Rainfall amounts along the coast will be anywhere between one to two inches east of the I-95 corridor with winds increasing to tropical storm force by Sunday afternoon. Some isolated areas could see as much as 2 to 3 inches according to the NWS. The greatest threat for all of this seems to be more confined to the further south that you go along the Jersey Shore toward Atlantic City and Cape May into Delaware. However, we could see tropical storm force winds as far north as coastal areas in Middlesex County such as South Amboy and Old Bridge.

On Saturday, I was out at South Amboy’s Waterfront Park along Raritan Bay, and there was a very good easterly to northeasterly fetch off the ocean. Water levels were higher than usual, and it wasn’t even high tide yet. Winds were much stronger too. Here at GWC in South Plainfield, there was more of a breeze, but not as significant as it was near the water in South Amboy. Again all of this is due to the fact that Hermine is a good ways from the coast right now.

Remember, Hermine is still a very large and vast system with tropical storm force winds extending some 205 miles from the center. The storm’s size is more along the lines of Hurricane Irene (2011) as supposed to Hurricane Sandy (2012). Like Irene and Sandy, the large circulation of Hermine will push a good deal of water toward the coast and bring significant wind and rain to areas far away from the center.

All residents along the coast from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Cape Cod, Massachusetts need to pay close attention to the whereabouts of this system since the models are giving different possibilities with this system. Do not let your guard down. The most recent forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center did indicate that Hermine could re-intensify to have hurricane force winds sustained over the next 24 to 48 hours.