NJ’s next storm: 1+ inch of rain, 40+ mph gusts, coastal flooding
The Bottom Line
We'll squeeze out one quiet, bright, pleasant weather day before our next potentially potent storm system rolls in.
The rain's not going to be that heavy this time around, with most forecast models maxing out around an inch and a half. But the ground is still saturated and rivers are still very swollen from the last storm. So there could be some flooding issues. The wind could be the more impressive impact, with gusts potentially touching 40 mph for several hours Friday evening.
Of course, we have an eye on the Halloween forecast too. It looks like the weather will dry out and clear out just in time for trick-or-treaters Sunday afternoon and evening.
The best compliment I can give to Thursday's forecast: It's going to be a typical late October day. Fairly pleasant, although definitely cool — you may need the jacket all day.
We're starting Thursday morning with temperatures mainly in the 40s. (50s near the coast.) The day will begin with crystal clear skies and lots of sunshine. Clouds will slowly increase Thursday afternoon, but our weather will stay rain-free. High temperatures will end up within a few degrees of 60. (Normal highs 61 to 63 degrees.)
A Coastal Flood Advisory has been issued once again for the Jersey Shore, as tide levels are still running about a foot higher than usual. Widespread minor category flooding is expected during Thursday afternoon's high tide cycle. (That will go even higher on Friday — keep reading.)
In addition, several spots along the Passaic River remain under a Flood Warning after Tuesday morning's heavy rain (and subsequent runoff). There are many smaller waterways still running high and fast throughout northern and central New Jersey, with some road closures continuing. Remember to never attempt to drive, walk, or swim through flooded areas.
Thursday night, a shower or sprinkle may creep into South Jersey. (Although this dry air mass makes me think any raindrops will be inconsequential.) We'll have a blanket of clouds overnight, but low temps will still dip into the mid 40s across most of the state.
Here comes our next storm system. I wouldn't define it as a classic nor'easter this time around, although there will be a coastal component and a strong on-shore flow. From rain to wind to coastal flooding, this will be a multi-impact weather event for New Jersey. Here's how I expect things to play out.
—Timeline... An initial line of showers may sweep through New Jersey Friday morning. The main event will really kick in starting as early as mid-afternoon Friday. The peak of this storm system, with the biggest gusts and downpours, will be Friday evening (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.) Another batch of scattered rain will impact New Jersey through at least midday on Saturday.
—Rainfall/Flooding... The vast majority of model guidance puts total rainfall between about 0.75" and 1.50" for New Jersey, with the heaviest between South Jersey and the NJ Turnpike corridor. Healthy rainfall, but not that heavy. The dual concerns here are 1.) if we get a heavy downpour or training storm cells, or 2.) if it really pours on a swollen waterway, flooding could develop quickly. The great risk of flooding conditions will be late Friday evening, but may impact the tail-end of the rush hour.
—Wind Gusts... Friday daytime will get breezy, with gusts to about 30 mph. And then for a few hours Friday evening, we could see widespread gusts climb as high as 45 mph. Especially with soggy soil, that could bring down trees and cause power outages. Also, the combination of rain and wind will blow a lot of leaves off the trees — they could block storm drains, and they will be slippery.
—Lightning... Models suggest there will be just enough instability aloft to support some thunder and lightning during the brunt of the storm. A gusty thunderstorm could develop along the way, although the overall risk for severe weather (wind, hail, tornado) seems low.
—Coastal Flooding... Strong easterly wind means a push of water toward the Jersey Shore. That's on top of tides that are already running high. Friday afternoon's high tide cycle could be about two feet higher than usual, with moderate flooding a possibility in spots. That's pretty serious, necessitating road closures for several hours. Coastal flood watches are already posted. Tide levels will be better this weekend, but probably still reaching above minor flood stage.
By early Saturday morning, the storm system's main band of rain and wind will be pushing off-shore. But there's one more piece of energy left to bubble up from the south.
So we'll still face scattered rain through at least midday Saturday. Some models push occasionally steady rain through the afternoon too. Additional rainfall totals will be light, the thunder/lightning risk if minimal, and winds will be much lighter than on Friday.
I'm hopeful we get some peeks of sun at some point on Saturday. High temperatures should pop into the mid 60s.
While the weekend start with a 'trick' of nasty weather, Halloween's forecast looks like a real 'treat'.
I can't rule out one last shower Sunday morning. But the afternoon and evening hours look completely dry for trick-or-treaters. Skies will remain mostly cloudy. And temperatures will be seasonably, holding in the lower 60s through the afternoon, dropping into the 50s as the sun sets.
The Extended Forecast
I still think Monday is the nicest day of the forecast. Mostly sunny and mild, with highs in the mid 60s. Might be a little breezy. But still a nice way to kick off November.
Tuesday is Election Day, and a weak impulse could drive in some showers in the evening. Highs again in the 60s.
The next opportunity for a more widespread, more impactful storm system would be late next week.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.