Hot and humid Wednesday, heavy rain possible Thursday
New Jersey will endure one more day of near-record temperatures and high humidity, before the potential for steady and/or heavy rain enters the forecast.
Here are your weather headlines for Wednesday, September 9, 2015...
Yesterday, Newark Airport reached 98°, smashing the previous 76-year record for the day of 94°. No record highs were noted at Trenton or Atlantic City yesterday, but temperatures still soared into the 90s.
While temperatures should be a few degrees cooler today, we're still charging into another very hot and very humid day. Highs will range from about 86° to 92°, but the oppressive humidity will push heat index values into the mid to upper 90s this afternoon. Once again today, it will be important to keep cool and stay hydrated. The calendar may read September, but air conditioning will be your friend once again today.
A few isolated thunderstorms could very well pop up in the heat and humidity this afternoon.
Rain, Glorious Rain!
New Jersey could really use some rain. In yesterday's weather blog post, I presented the latest Drought Monitor, which puts about 17% of the state into a "Moderate Drought" category. This is a short-term problem - New Jersey has been very dry only since about mid-July... but our drought and fire danger situation worsens with each rain-free day. As the chart below illustrates, the weather station at Newark Airport is now running almost 5 inches below normal annual rainfall.
It looks like we have some glorious soaking rain on the way, that will hopefully ease that rainfall deficit a bit. In fact, Thursday could turn into a washout for much of the state for much of the day.
As a slow-moving front approaches late tonight through early Thursday morning, rain will arrive in the Garden State. (Some time after about 10 p.m. or Midnight.) Periods of steady rain are likely throughout Thursday, with occasional heavier downpours. The best chance for heavy rain looks to run from afternoon through early evening. Models are showing widespread rain totals in the 1 to 2 inch range, with locally higher amounts. I wouldn't rule out a few impressive 4 or 5 inch rain totals, if a particular storm cell dumps over an area for an extended period of time.
The ground should drink that rainwater up easily, although heavier downpours could lead to some localized flooding of "the usual" low-lying areas. The risk for severe weather (wind and/or hail) will be low, but not zero.
Into the Weekend
Showers should taper off Friday morning, and we should enjoy clearing skies by Friday afternoon. A stiff breeze up to about 25 mph will accompany seasonable temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s.
Forecast confidence becomes a bit shaky this weekend. For now, Saturday's weather looks good, with partly sunny skies and high temperatures around 80°. The brisk wind from Friday should subside, making for a pleasant, comfortable day.
On Sunday, however, a storm system coming up the coast will provide a persistent chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms. Even if it doesn't rain all day, stubborn clouds will likely control the sky. Highs again will be within a few degrees of 80°.
Dan Zarrow is the Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey, and holds the prestigious Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation from the American Meteorological Society. Follow the latest forecasts and weather updates from Dan on Facebook and Twitter.