Nasty Weather for New Jersey Today, Thanks to Remnants of Patricia
Periods of heavy rain, gusty winds, and minor coastal flooding are expected across the state on Wednesday.
Just six days ago, Hurricane Patricia had exploded off the Pacific coast of Mexico, becoming the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. Since then, the storm has been steadily tracking toward the northeast... And now it's New Jersey's turn to a get a taste of some rain and wind.
As I mentioned in yesterday's weather blog, this impending storm system is only the remnant moisture and energy from Patricia. It is not even close to having the strength or structure of a hurricane or tropical storm. However, this system is tapped into to tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and we are still forecasting some pretty big rain totals and potentially significant wind gusts.
Here is the latest forecast for this potentially disgusting weather day...
The rain looks to persist for much of Wednesday - both during the daytime hours, and through tonight as well. While there may be a few scattered breaks in the rainfall action along the way today, it certainly looks like an "umbrella all-day" kind of situation. Don't be surprised to hear a few rumbles of thunder, as a few embedded thunderstorms are possible. While severe weather is possible, it is unlikely.
Pockets of heavy rain are likely, especially this afternoon and this evening... While forecast models differ on the exact timing and location of these heavy rain bands, someone is New Jersey will likely see over an inch of rain fall in a short period of time. These downpours will be the most significant impact of today's wet weather, as reduced visibility and flooding could make travel difficult and downright dangerous. Flooding issues will be exacerbated by fallen leaves and other autumn debris clogging storm drains.
Rainfall totals are still expected to end up in the 1 to 3 inch range for New Jersey, with the highest totals expected in North Jersey (along and north of about I-78). The latest models have actually backed off the rainfall totals a little bit - so some places in southern and coastal New Jersey ultimately end up just shy of that 1" benchmark. My thinking is still that most of the Garden State will see an inch or two in the rain gauge by Thursday morning. That is solid healthy rainfall, that we desperately need, but not too extreme... unless it falls very hard during a short period of time, leading to flash flooding.
Wind gusts will make the day feel blustery, but the risk for truly damaging winds is marginal at best. Sustained wind speeds will hold around 20 or 25 mph through much of the day. Wind gusts could hit 35 or 40 mph today. Higher gusts will be possible within any strong or severe thunderstorms that really get going. If you have not secured your Halloween decorations properly, they may end up across town by later tonight.
Coastal flooding is possible during the times of high tide. The latest tidal guidance shows a water rise of about 1 foot - that's enough to raise alarm bells, but not nearly reason to panic. The "usual" low spots along the coast will likely flood during the next one or two high tide cycles. A Coastal Flood Advisory (NOT a more serious Warning, as of this writing) is in effect for the Atlantic coast and back bays, including along the Delaware Bay, Barnegat Bay, and Raritan Bay. Stay alert to road closures, and never attempt to walk, swim, or drive through flooded areas.
As the storm winds down Thursday morning, a cold front will deliver cooler air and potentially gusty winds late Thursday into Friday. Clear, dry weather will resume for Friday, Halloween, and the beginning of November. Your trick-or-treat forecast looks great... although temperatures look pretty chilly with highs in the mid 50s and lows in the 40s through the weekend.