Hurricanes? Tornadoes? Actually, here’s what NJ really needs to watch out for
It’s July, so it is officially hurricane season here in the Garden State.
While it’s unlikely that we’ll get slammed by a hurricane this summer or fall, there’s a good chance we’ll have some severe weather that could potentially be dangerous and perhaps even deadly.
“There’s about a 1 in 100 chance of a hurricane making landfall in New Jersey, but in many a year we feel some effects of a hurricane or a tropical system that makes its way into the middle latitudes,” said Dave Robinson, New Jersey State climatologist at Rutgers University.
He said “sometimes it just may be very heavy surf from a storm that goes off the coast, and that can bring all kinds of dangers of rip currents and drowning."
Robinson said the remnants of tropical storms and hurricanes, like Floyd and Irene, can cause flooding and damage from wind, and thus be extremely damaging and dangerous.
He said every summer there’s at least a 50 percent chance of dangerous weather that has the potential of causing injury or death.
“But many of those cases are from storms that are far out to sea, where the major danger is the rip currents and the heavy surf we see along the coast,” he said.
Robinson noted New Jersey was belted by the remnants of tropical storm Cindy last month with heavy rains, and the energy from that storm probably helped to form two small tornadoes.
So you might imagine the summer is more dangerous than the winter when it comes to wild weather, but Robinson said that’s not necessarily the case.
He said during the summer, hot weather kills more people than most any other natural event.
“We also have the threat of a tropical system severely impacting the state, and then you have your summer thunderstorms, and with that the lightening danger, the flash flooding danger, and the very isolated danger of tornadoes," he said.
But switch over to winter and you’re talking about the potential of snowstorms and blizzards, as well as “nor’easters that can bring flooding rains, flooding surf along the coast. It can bring snow and strong winds inland, and then you do have excessive cold, which can be a danger, so we’re not immune in any season.”
Robinson also pointed out extreme weather can stretch into the fall and spring, so dangerous conditions can develop virtually any time of the year.
And whatever type of storm we’re talking about doesn’t have to hit the Garden State directly to be dangerous.
“The hurricane of 1944 for instance, which really pounded the Jersey coast stayed just offshore, so a storm just has to be in the vicinity to have give us a really heavy hit,” he said.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.