A Taste of the Blast Furnace

Highest Temp to Date in 2022 at GWC on Saturday Kicks Off Weekend of Rare Pre-Memorial Day Heat

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—A taste of the blast furnace is what residents of New Jersey got on Saturday.  A preview of things to come in the Summer of 2022 around the Garden State.  Temperatures soared past the previous year to date high set on April 14th at GWC in South Plainfield and numerous other New Jersey municipalities.  The mercury climbed into the low 90s for the first time since last summer.

The high temperature on Saturday at Greg’s Weather Center in South Plainfield reached 92 degrees.  Coupled with a peak dew point of 72, the maximum heat index topped out at 101.  Other places around the Mid-Atlantic reached similar heights.  Down to the southwest, Georgetown, Delaware had a high of 94 degrees.  So did Manahawkin, New Jersey in Ocean County.  Further north in Hoboken, the mercury also peaked at 92.

The Blast Furnace Didn’t Waste Time

The sun didn’t waste much time in heating things up on Saturday.  After an overnight and early morning fog lifted at GWC, the thermometer went to work.  By 10:23 AM EDT, the temperature already climbed up to 85 degrees.  Within three hours, the mercury made it to 89 at 1:07 PM.  The GWC thermometer previously peaked at 86 on April 14th.  It didn’t stop there though as it climbed further into the low 90s by 2:30 PM.

It didn’t take long to feel the effects of the pre-Memorial Day heat and humidity either.  After initially stepping outside into the heat during the afternoon, residents may have thought that it wasn’t too bad.  With a slight breeze, the elements appeared tolerable.  Within 8 to 10 minutes, however, people began to think otherwise.  The heat and humidity on Saturday quickly sneaked up on those venturing outside.

Jersey Shore: An Enticing Alternative to the Blast Furnace

The brief taste of summer enticed many to head to the Jersey Shore beaches.  Thanks to the cooling effect of the nearby Atlantic Ocean, where water temperatures ranged from 52 to 57 degrees, conditions were significantly cooler along the immediate coast.  At North Beach Haven on Long Beach Island, the temperature hovered in the low 70s.  Nearby in Harvey Cedars, it was even cooler at 68.  

The marine influence also resulted in a significant temperature gradient in New Jersey’s coastal counties.  While temperatures were in the low to mid 90s in places such as Manahawkin and Stafford, the mercury sat in the upper 60s to low 70s some 10 miles away on Long Beach Island.  Further out into the Atlantic, the sea surface temperature stood in the mid 50s.  So, over an expanse of just 15 to 20 miles existed a temperature difference of nearly 40 degrees.

A Vast Contrast from Blast Furnace to Ocean Breeze

The vast contrast in temperature over a very short distance produced a sea breeze front.  Consequently, the significant thermal gradient raised the possibility of pop-up thunderstorms at Jersey Shore beaches.  Thankfully, no storms emerged.  Skies from Eastern Long Island down to Delaware Bay only had some occasional wispy cirrus clouds.  Mother Nature might not be as forgiving on Sunday though.

A cold front will be approaching the region during the day.  Prior to its arrival, New Jersey will a taste of the blast furnace once more.  Temps will reach the low to mid 90s and Heat indices will climb to around the century mark again.  However, as the storm system moves in from the west, the possibility of severe weather will increase.  On Saturday, a derecho or MCV struck the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan as well as the Canadian province of Ontario, and Western New York.

The mesoscale complex resulted in a deadly and devastating tornado in Gaylord Michigan as well as tremendous straight line winds in Ottawa and Toronto Canada.  Two people died in the Northern Michigan twister while another was killed in Ontario.  Some of this weather could be possible today in the interior Northeast and extreme Northwestern New Jersey.  The Storm Prediction Center has much of the Garden State under a marginal risk for severe weather on Sunday.

Residents will need to monitor the sky and weather outlets for changing conditions. Over the past two weeks, the Garden States has had several flirtations with severe weather. On Monday, a powerful cold front produced a severe weather threat that thankfully fizzled at GWC. Then, on Friday, an MCV spared South Plainfield due to a chilly southeasterly breeze.