Wet and windy weather across NJ for Thursday and beyond
A very slow-moving storm system will keep the chance of rain in the forecast for the Garden State through the weekend.
UPDATE as of 2 p.m. Thursday: The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Matthew from a tropical storm to a hurricane. We have also published an article with more information regarding Matthew's forecast uncertainty:
Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, September 29, 2016...
Wet and Windy
We crossed fingers for rain, and Mother Nature is delivering... somewhat. The truly heaviest rain from this storm system will stay southwest of New Jersey - that's both bad news and good news. Bad news for us, because we could really use a solid drought-busting rain. Good news for us, because 7+ inches of rain in a short period of time could produce dramatic flooding - a problem western Maryland and northern Virginia will have to face instead.
Back in the Garden State, periodic rain is expected for Thursday, Thursday night, and Friday. That means it's not going to be a total washout, and it's not going to rain non-stop both days. The heaviest rain in NJ will fall along the southern and western edges of the state. Even when it's not raining, conditions will remain cloudy, cool, and just plain yucky. Temperatures won't climb above the 60s, making a jacket and and umbrella necessities.
In addition, the strong area of low pressure producing the rain will also produce some gusty windy. Gusts to 35 or 40 mph will be possible from Thursday to Friday - not high enough for widespread damage, but we may very well see sporadic downed trees and power lines.
Meanwhile, along the Jersey Shore, the combination of the brisk on-shore winds and Friday's upcoming new moon is causing some surf problems. A high risk for rip currents is posted for ocean beaches on Thursday. Minor flooding of tidal waterways is possible at the twice-daily times of high tide, and higher-than-normal waves may cause marginal erosion. Overall, the coastal concerns aren't huge this time around, especially since we're now out of the summer beach season. Just keep the danger in mind if you plan to jump in the ocean through this weekend.
Slow Weekend Improvements
As our stagnant weather pattern finally unhinges itself, we'll see gradual improvements to our weather in New Jersey this weekend. But don't expect much (if any) sun until late Sunday.
The rain should back off to scattered showers on Saturday, with models showing very little "steady" or "heavy" rain. I think it's still going to feel like a wet day overall, with overcast skies and breezy conditions. The lighter rain should allow temperatures to creep upward slightly, topping out in the upper 60s to around 70 degrees.
One more burst of rain is forecast for early Sunday morning, before we finally (hopefully) see clearing skies Sunday afternoon. The addition of sunshine will do wonders for the thermometer, with highs bumping into the lower to mid 70s. We should enjoy similar temps with partly cloudy skies on Monday too.
Tropical Storm Matthew
On Wednesday, a tropical wave near the Windward Islands became the Atlantic basin's thirteenth named tropical storm of the year - Matthew. The storm is currently spinning through the eastern Caribbean Sea, packing sustained winds of 65 mph. It is moving due west, and is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by Friday morning.
As I have discussed previously this week (Tuesday / Wednesday), Tropical Storm Matthew could pose a threat to the U.S. East Coast, including New Jersey. It could also swing west. Or east. Or fizzle. Despite what you may have seen on social media, the story remains the same: Matthew's forecast track beyond the next 72-96 hours is zero confidence at this time.
I'll be posting more detail on Matthew's forecast uncertainty later. Just know for now that you don't need to have a worry or care about the storm. If the threat remains in the forecast early next week (Sunday/Monday), I promise you'll be the first to know.