Here we go again: Another round of severe thunderstorms likely Wednesday
TORNADO WATCH IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 p.m. for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer Salem and Warren counties. Conditions are favorable in these areas for the formation of tornadoes.
Three possible tornadoes. Ping-pong ball size hail. Crazy lightning. Torrential rain. Tuesday night was easily one the craziest weather nights I've experienced in New Jersey, and one we won't soon forget. The National Weather Service will go out to survey the damage around Sussex-Morris counties on Wednesday, to determine if it was caused by a tornado. (I'd be absolutely shocked if it wasn't.) If there is evidence of rotation, we'll get a report on the strength, path, and damage estimation.
Unfortunately, Wednesday's forecast looks very similar to Tuesday's, as strong to severe thunderstorms return to New Jersey.
We're starting Wednesday morning with residual convection — a few blobs of rain moving west to east across the middle of New Jersey. Model guidance shows showers fizzling by about 8 a.m. Until then, don't be surprised if you encounter a spot of wet weather.
Through the middle of the day, you'll catch breaks of sun amidst clouds. Because of a stalled frontal boundary sitting right on top of us, there will be a big temperature difference across the state. Near 70 in North Jersey, near 90 in South Jersey for Wednesday afternoon.
The best chance for strong thunderstorms will be from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, with lingering showers and weak thunderstorms possible through about 2 a.m. Thursday.
Wednesday's storms will feature one noteworthy difference, compared to Tuesday's. Forecast models and severe weather parameters are less favorable for cellular (and specifically supercellular) storms. That will reduce the risk for tornado and hail slightly. However, linear or quasi-linear storms would still be efficient rain producers, in addition to pumping out some potentially damaging winds. (To be crystal clear, we are going to see powerful storms Wednesday, and the tornado/hail threat is far from zero.)
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. for 13 counties in New Jersey: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren. 1 to 2 inches of rain may fall in a very short period of time, inundating storm drainage systems and causing ponding and flooding issues on roads and in low-lying areas.
Behind the storms, we'll dry out a bit overnight. Low temperatures will dip into the lower to mid 60s Wednesday night, still pretty sticky.
Thursday follows a similar pattern, with mostly cloudy skies during the day and then a late-day chance for rain. However, Thursday evening's rain looks like just that — the risk for severe weather (wind, hail, tornado) will be much lower. Of course, there could be rumbles of thunder and some localized flooding issues (especially due to saturated ground).
We'll finally get a break from the stormy weather on Friday, as mostly sunny skies and dry weather take over. The day will be windy, with a fresh breeze out of the west up to 20 mph. Temperatures look fairly pleasant, on either side of 80 degrees.
We're gaining clarity for the weekend forecast, and it's not great news. Saturday morning looks fine, with warm temps in the 80s later Saturday. However, clouds will be on the increase, and we have to add scattered showers and thunderstorms to the forecast from Saturday afternoon through Sunday. The raindrops and grey skies could keep Sunday's temperatures cooler, in the 70s.
Let me close this weather blog entry with a reminder to remain "weather aware" with the potentially violent thunderstorms in the forecast. As I've mentioned before, this buzz phrase involves three steps:
1.) Know there is a risk of severe weather. Check — but please make sure your friends and family are aware of the storm threat too.
2.) Have a way to receive weather warnings as they are issued. Your smartphone should automatically alert you to any tornado, severe thunderstorm, or flash flood warning for your area.
3.) Take action quickly if you're in the path of a nasty storm. This may include delaying or detouring your ride home, seeking shelter in a sturdy building, etc.