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NJ faces heat, thunderstorms before holiday weekend

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect for the entire state as New Jersey deals with extreme heat and humidity and then the effects of Tropical Storm Arthur before a return to sunshine for most of the long weekend.

Thunderstorm clouds arrive in Manasquan
Thunderstorm clouds arrive in Manasquan (Joe Palmer, Townsquare Media NJ)

A line of strong storms headed east from Pennsylvania as temperatures soared into the humid 90s.The storms crossed from the northwest into Sussex County and made their way south with other strong cells forming all with heavy rain, hail and lightning.

The National Weather Service says up to 2 1/2 inches of rain fell in some areas.

The storms are not losing much of their punch as they move south and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are posted in south Jersey including Gloucester, Burlington, Salem and Cumberland Counties.

A number of north and central Jersey roads are flooded according to New Jersey Fast Traffic including the Garden State Parkway in Bloomfield, the ramp from Route 440 north to the Parkway in Woodbridge, I-287 in Piscataway and Route 22 in Hillside.

 

Over 42,000 PSE+G customers are without power according to its outage map in Middlesex, Passaic, Union Burlington and Bergen counties. There are also power outages for over 4,000  JCP&L customers in north Jersey especially in Hunterdon, Union and Somerset counties and over 5,000 Atlantic City Electric customers without power mostly in Camden County.

PSEG Outage Map

JCP+L Outage Map

Atlantic City Electric Outage Map

The storms are causing arrival delays at Newark, JFK, LaGuardia and Philadelphia airports of at least 2 hours according to FlightAware.com.

A Heat Advisory is in effect Wednesday for much of south and central Jersey including Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counites from noon to 8 p.m. as temperatures climb to the the mid-90s with a dew point in the 70s making for a heat index of 102 degrees.

Meteorologist Alan Kasper says the heat will be dangerous for anyone spending time outside, especially the young and the elderly and could lead to heat illnesses. He says there is a good chance of showers and strong thunderstorms on Wednesday afternoon into the evening as the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has New Jersey and the northeast at “slight risk” for storms with damaging winds and occasional hail along with heavy downpours.

Tropical Storm Arthur off the Georgia coast on Thursday evening
Satellite view of Tropical Storm Arthur off the Georgia coast on Thursday evening (NHC)

The heat will give way on Thursday to the effects of Tropical Storm Arthur and a series of cold front boundries. “The interaction between those two is what’s going to give us the impact for showers and thunderstorms into Friday,” explains National Weather Service observing program leader James Bunker.

Arthur formed Tuesday off the Florida coast where a tropical storm watch is in effect from Fort Pierce into North Carolina. Late Wednesday afternoon, Arthur was about 355 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina and moving north about 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. The National Hurricane Center predicted it would grow to a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of at least 74 mph Thursday. Mandatory evacuations on Outer Banks’ Hatteras Island started on Wednesday night.

An updated NWS brief on Arthur expects a cold front to become stationary across New Jersey, As tropical moisture from Arthur moves north along the front heavy rain and thunderstorms will fall Thursday afternoon into early Friday. As much as 1-3 inches of rain could fall from the slow moving storms with flash flooding possible.

Kasper expects Arthur to strengthen into a hurricane on Wednesday and continue its trek up the coast before turning  toward the north  off the Outer Banks of North Carolina staying well to the south of New Jersey on Friday with “minimal impact” for the Jersey Shore.

Both Saturday and Sunday will be sunny with temperatures in the 80s. The only lingering effect of the storm will be a high risk of rip currents for the entire weekend.

What is the risk of flooding from Arthur?

Get the latest information on the tropical weather texting WEATHER to 89000.

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Dino Flammia contributed to this report.

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