NJ coastal storm update: 6 high tides of minor-moderate flooding
All eyes will be on the Jersey Shore Thursday (and beyond). Our coastal storm will kick up the strongest winds of the week, with regular gusts to 40 mph along the coast. That's going to push quite a bit of water toward the Jersey Shore. We call that storm surge, and it usually leads to coastal flooding issues.
And indeed, coastal flood advisories and watches are in effect for NJ's entire coast. (I've opted not to specifically list them here, as the timing and language is confusing and are subject to change later on.)
And as I mentioned in Wednesday's weather blog post, I believe we'll be just barely spared from Major flooding for two reasons:
1.) A northerly component to the wind, rather than straight toward the coast (easterly or northeasterly)
2.) Peak surge will occur around Midnight Thursday night, at low tide
Here is a rundown of how the next 6 high tide cycles will play out. The high tide times I have listed here are for the Atlantic Ocean at Seaside Heights. Remember that back bays and tidal tributaries crest up to 3 hours later. The Delaware River crests approximately 6 hours after the oceanfront.
—Thursday 5:46 a.m... 1 to 2 feet of surge... Minor flooding
—Thursday 6:01 p.m... About 2 feet of surge... Minor to Moderate flooding
—Friday 6:29 a.m... 2 to 3 feet of surge... Widespread Moderate flooding
—Friday 6:43 p.m... 2 to 3 feet of surge... Widespread Moderate flooding
—Saturday 7:08 a.m... 1 to 2 feet of surge... Minor flooding
—Saturday 7:21 p.m... About 1 foot of surge... Minor flooding
What do those Minor, Moderate, and Major flooding category designations actually mean for you? I took some time yesterday to write a primer on that very subject.
Moderate flooding is pretty significant, and pretty serious. There will be road and lane closures, and potentially some property damage.
Meanwhile, model guidance has developed a striking consensus showing the coastal low has jiggled to the east ever so slightly, away from New Jersey. Therefore, I've been able to slightly decrease Thursday's wind speed forecast (gusts to 30 mph inland, 40 mph coast) and increase high temperatures (lower 60s). Additionally, the daytime hours look mainly dry — we could see some healthy pops of sunshine Thursday morning through midday!
Scattered showers will return late-day, so you might catch occasional raindrops through Thursday night. The wind should calm down a bit, but we're still facing 30 mph gusts overnight. Low temperatures will fall to around the 50-degree mark.
Friday looks pretty gloomy, with thick clouds and a few waves of showers passing across New Jersey. Again, a stiff north-northeast breeze will blow up to 25 mph (inland) or 30 mph (coast). High temperatures will be limited to about 60 degrees.
At long last, this weekend, our coastal storm unhinges and escapes out to sea. That means we'll enjoy calmer, drier, and brighter conditions.
Saturday will bring slowly clearing skies, as high temperatures improve to the mid 60s. Still a hair below normal, but we'll take it. The day looks generally dry, although a weak front could spark a shower Saturday evening.
Sunday looks even better, as skies become partly sunny. Thermometers should come close to 70 degrees. The latest models show a batch of rain impacting NJ's southern coast Sunday night.
I'm still loving the forecast for Monday, featuring bright sunshine, dry skies, and mild temperatures peaking in the lower 70s.
Our next storm system is set to arrive late Tuesday into Wednesday. We could see a period of soaking rain, followed by another big cooldown. I sense mornings will once again become pretty chilly — maybe even frosty — by late next week.